Leachate treatment begins at Bandhwari landfill near Gurugram
At present, the plant is operating at a capacity of 150 kilolitres per day, from which about 140-odd kilolitres of treated water is being obtained.Updated: Aug 22, 2018 03:28 IST
The first batch of water from the leachate treatment plant (LTP) at Bandhwari landfill was obtained early this month, flagging off the plant’s regular operations.
At present, the plant is operating at a capacity of 150 kilolitres per day, from which about 140-odd kilolitres of treated water is being obtained. The water is currently being stored on site and will be sent to the Behrampur sewage treatment plant for further processing. A site visit by a Hindustan Times team on Tuesday confirmed that the LTP is fully functional.
“Eventually, we will use the water to construct the upcoming waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at Bandhwari,” said Paresh Jindal, the deputy general manager (engineering) of Ecogreen Energy, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s concessionaire for waste management.
Jindal also said that the water would be used in operating the WTE plant as well.
Activists and residents living near the Bandhwari landfill have, for long, been complaining about untreated leachate emanating from the dump, which is spread over 27 acres. It has been alleged that leachate is polluting the groundwater as well as surface water bodies in the Aravallis.
A 2015 survey by Rekha Singh, an approved environment expert from the Quality Council of India (ministry of environment, forest & climate change), highlighted this problem.
Singh had tested samples from a leachate pond inside the landfill and found that the total dissolved solids (TDS) count in the water was 6,950 mg/l, which is much higher than the permissible limit of 2,100mg/l, according to the Municipal Waste Management Rules, 2000. “The contamination from the leachate pond has started polluting the groundwater, causing serious fluoride, phenolic compound, cadmium and mercury poisoning,” Singh said in her report.
The first batch of water from the LTP was sent by Ecogreen Energy for testing to a private laboratory on July 30, 2017. The test results, however, showed that the water did not meet all the criteria specified in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2015 .
As per the test results of the laboratory, TDS level in the LTP’s output water was found to have dipped from 25,668mg/l to 5,194mg/l. While the dip is significant, the safe limit is 2,100mg/l. Other parameters, however, such as total suspended solids and pH values were found to be in accordance with the rules. The tests did not take into account the presence of heavy metals and phenolic compounds.
The report elicited concern among experts. Rekha Singh said, “This water cannot be discharged into local water bodies.”
She also said it cannot be used in the operation of a power plant, as the TDS levels will cause ‘scaling’ issues in the boiler. “The high TDS level will lead to a reduction in heat, which the boiler requires, and therefore, increase electricity consumption, which is inefficient,” said Singh.
She said that the water cannot be used for construction either.
Jindal said that the water would not be discharged in public sewers, water bodies or on land. “In time, the performance of the plant will improve and we will be able to meet all the criteria specified in the rules,” he said.
Ankit Aggarwal, CEO, Ecogreen Energy, said that the company was not obliged to build the LTP so soon into their contract with the MCG, “but taking cognizance of the problem, we went ahead with it first, before building the waste-to-energy plant.”
Construction of the LTP began in December 2017 and was completed in April 2018, at a cost of ₹3.5 crore. “It will take about five months to completely mitigate the leachate problem,” Aggarwal added.
Manoj Kaushik, a solid waste management consultant with the MCG, said, “With the plant up and running, the leachate issue is over.”
First Published: Aug 22, 2018 03:28 IST