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Issue 33
, 2011
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Pollution control board lists 21 contaminated soil sites

Source: Business Standard, June 11, 2011, Date: , 2011

The Orissa Pollution Control Board (OPCB) has identified 21 sites in the state, where soils have been contaminated by the existing or earlier industries. About 80,000 lakh tonne of soil has been infested by the chemical wastes of various companies such as Hindalco and Orichem, said Siddhant Das, member secretary, OPCB. The board plans to either replace the soil or to treat it at the respective locations.

"Out of the 21 sites we have found, there are now industries in 10 sites. We have instructed them to treat the contaminated soil or replace it, Das said in a waste management seminar organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

OPCB can not fix accountability to the land users in other 11 sites, where industries have been shut down five to ten years ago. There was no law regarding fixing accountability for waste generation prior to 1989, he said, adding, the agency is looking for other means to dispose off the soils.

"There is an institute which has proposed to treat chromium affected soil at one of the sites and generate resources from it. This is in initial stage and nothing has been sorted out yet, said Niranjan Das, scientist with OPCB.

If the institute fails to exploit the soil waste commercially, then OPCB will have no choice but to transport the soil to its Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) at Sukinda, he said.

The TSDF is an enclosed pond where hazardous and chemical waste are dumped, processed or disposed according to the nature of the waste. The facility was built with an investment of Rs 50 crore by the state government.

However, scientist Das said transferring the hazardous soil is costly. The treatment and transport of four lakh tonne soil can cost up to Rs 10 crore, which is the annual budget of OPCB.

"We have not finalized who will bear the cost, but certainly some steps would be taken soon, said Das.