Report of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board on KMML polluting land and waterbodies through the discharge of acid water, Chavara, Kollam, Kerala, 07/02/2023
Report of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board filed before the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi in the matter of Original Application No. 502/2022 (Padmakumar Vs State of Kerala).
The petitioner has alleged that the Kerala Minerals and Metals (KMML) is polluting the land and waterbodies for about 30 years by discharging acid water and the area surrounding the factory has become unfit for any purpose and the villagers were forced to close the drinking water wells which were filled with acid. The petitioner (Padmakumar) alleged that the industry is pumping acid waste directly to sea and connected lake through canals and also the Vattakkayal in Porookkara is filled with the acid clay waste polluting the environment and endangering life of the villagers.
The NGT, August 29, 2022 constituted a joint committee to file a report after verifying the factual position.
M/s KMML is a fully integrated rutile grade titanium dioxide plant commissioned in 1984 at Sankaramangalam, Chavara, Kollam, Kerala with a titanium dioxide manufacturing capacity of 1449.125 TPA.
The analysis of the stagnant water samples collected from the nearby area of the company show acidic pH and presence of heavy metals. All the three well water samples also show high concentration of iron and one sample shows acidic pH. "It is understood that the nearby area is polluted and the well water is not fit for drinking purpose," the report said. The storm water sample of the industry show acidic pH and presence of iron, manganese and vanadium - this implies that the land inside the industry is either polluted or there is a possibility of leakage/spillage of iron oxide sludge into nearby area including Vattakayal.
The treated effluent sample from the industry showed total suspended solids and heavy metals above the limit specified which implied that the present treatment system is not adequate enough to comply with the effluent discharge standards and requires upgradation. The SPCB has recommended that the existing effluent treatment system need to be upgraded to ensure compliance to the consent discharge norms.