National Aluminium Company which has come under attack from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) for recurring incidents of ash pond slippage has proposed to dump its fly ash in abandoned stone quarries.
As a long-term measure for efficient management of fly ash disposal, the aluminium major is in the process of building a 21-km pipeline. The company has hitherto commissioned three km of the pipeline, said S S Mohapatra, director (production), Nalco.
B K Patnaik, state Chief Secretary said, “Nalco has proposed to dump fly ash in some abandoned stone quarries. The revenue department will identify suitable quarries for this purpose. The slurry pipeline of Nalco is expected to be completed by June next year.”
Earlier, the state environment department had asked the SPCB to insist on Nalco authorities to opt for High Concentrated Slurry Ash Disposal and dump the fly ash in the Bharatpur coal mining voids of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), contrary to the conventional practice of depositing ash in the ash ponds.
The captive power plant of Nalco at Angul generates 1.74 million tonnes of fly ash every year and the company should ensure efficient fly ash disposal, the environment department held. The Nalco ash pond had developed cracks on October 10, resulting in leakage of water from the pond to the Nadira rivulet which falls into the Brahmani river. The ash pond slippage sparked panic among the locals of Kukudanga village who opposed the incident by trooping into the pond area. Accusing Nalco of not finding a permanent solution to the problem, the locals had demanded an enquiry into the incident. Nalco authorities had immediately swung into action and arrested the leakages within three hours.