CPCB report on unscientific disposal of spent catalysts by oil refineries, 08/09/2020

  • 08/09/2020

Action taken report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the matter of Original Application No. 67/2020 (Nathan Chaudhary Vs State of GNCTD & Others).

The matter related to unscientific disposal of spent catalysts which is under the category of hazardous waste by Panipat refinery and Digboi refinery. The applicant in his application described that during the course of visits in different parts of the country, he came to know of various illegalities being committed by Panipat Refinery, Haryana and Digboi Refinery, Assam as well as other oil refineries with respect to handling, management and disposal of hazardouus waste (i.e. spent catalyst). Spent catalyst containing nickel, cadmium, zinc, copper, arsenic, vanadium and cobalt has been categorized under list of common recyclable hazardous wastes at Schedule IV of Hazardous Waste Management Rules (HOWM), 2016.

Synopsis of the CPCB report: 

The Committee observed that spent catalyst, quantity and disposal method was not defined clearly in the authorization granted by the concerned SPCB in case of IOCL Panipat and some other oil refineries. IOCL Panipat, Haryana, IOCL Mathura Refinery, Uttar Pradesh, IOCL Barauni, Bihar, Reliance Jamnagar, Gujarat are generating spent catalyst - 8505.215 MT, 518.82 MT, 5202 MT and 407 MT respectively. This was exceeding the authorised quantity of spent catalyst given in the authorization by the concerned SPCB during the last 3 years, which is violations of HOWM Rules, 2016.

All the 23 oil refineries are not maintaining generation of spent catalyst information in the requisite form as per HOWM Rules, 2016. During the inspection of the Joint Committee, it was found, the IOCL Panipat, HPCL Bhatinda and IOCL Digboi are not maintaining packaging and labelling of hazardous and other waste as per Rule 17 of HOWM Rules, 2016. In addition to these units (expect HPCL Mittal Refinery, Bhatinda, Punjab) also did not have adequate storage facility for safe and environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes as per Rule 4 of HOWM Rules, 2016.

Generally, oil refineries do not examine the eligibility of recylers/utilizers of spent catalyst as per HOWM Rules, 2016 before e-auctioning through MSTC. The Committee recommended that SPCBs/PCCs must be directed to issue proper authorization for handling and management of hazardous and other waste in accordance of HOWM Rules, 2016 to generators/utilizers/recyclers - clearly mentioning the category, quantity and disposal method.

Another recommendation was that all refineries generating hazardous waste including spent catalyst must ensure to dispose off their hazardous and other waste in scientific manner or to the authorized utilizers/recyclers in accordance with HOWM Rules, 2016. All the spent catalyst generator i.e., oil refineries should be directed to prepare uniform Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for E-auctioning of hazardous and other waste including spent catalyst across the country.