With recurring incidents of ash pond slippage of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) sparking resentment among the locals and also triggering fears of environmental damage, the state environment department has taken a tough stand on the matter.
The department has asked the State Pollution Control Board (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.
Bhagirathi Behera, director (environment) has shot off a letter to Siddhant Das, member secretary, SPCB urging the pollution board to direct Nalco to adopt the High Concentrated Slurry Ash Disposal to avert repeated incidents of ash pond slippage in the future.
"The recurring incidents of ash pond slippage of Nalco cannot be taken lightly. We have urged the SPCB to prevail upon Nalco authorities to go for the High Concentrated Slurry Ash Disposal system. 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", Behera told Business Standard.
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.