Joint committee report on groundwater pollution due to bleaching units in Bhituja, Balotra taluk, Barmer district, Rajasthan, 26/03/2021

Joint Committee report in Original Application No. 202/2016 in the matter of Balotra Textile Hand Processors Association Vs Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board & Others in compliance to the National Green Tribunal order of December 7, 2020.

The court had directed the constitution of a Joint Committee to look into the issue of high concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS)/ fixed dissolved solids (FDS) in common effluent treatment plant (CETP) discharges leading to groundwater pollution in Bhituja, Balotra taluk, Barmer district, Rajasthan.

The Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB), Balotra collected random samples of the groundwater from tubewells, inlet and outlet of few bleaching process units. As well collected inlet and outlet samples of CETP, Bhijuja.

The analysis result of 5 randomly selected bleaching units operational in Bhituja showed that the bleaching units contributed an average TDS - 6866mg/l to the raw water used in the process. The Pre-ETP (settling tanks) provided by each unit were unable to control the total suspended solids (TSS) and the settled sludge is pumped to CETP, Bhituja that increased the TSS load on the plant. This results in solid deposition in the waste stabilization ponds.

The CETP Bhituja was not complying the prescribed discharge standards. It meant that the treatment provided at CETP was unfit to treat the effluent generated from the bleaching units.

On the day of field visit, February 18, 2021 - all the 3 solar evaporation ponds (SEPs) were found filled up upto their full capacity. Seepage of the effluent from the pond was also observed.

The Regional Officer, RSPCB, Balotra stated that earlier also partially treated effluent of CETP Bhituja was found discharged illegally from the solar evaporation ponds (SEPs) through pumping in nearby land. CETP was not recycling the treated effluent to bleaching units that increases the hydraulic load on SEPs.