Have you examined your agreement on Hazardous Waste TSDF?

“During monsoon season, hazardous wastes may not be accepted at the TSDF site and occupier needs to store it for a minimum period of four months” contravenes the provisions of 8 (1) of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016; needs deliberation

Sanjaya K. Mishra, Editor& Publisher at www.enviroannotations.com

Haryana Environmental Management Society (HEMS) describes itself as a voluntary and non-profit organization constituted as Society vide Registration No. 2864 Dated 22.01.2002. It is a representative organization for industries in Haryana. HEMS in co-operation and guidance from the experts from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, Haryana State Pollution Control Board and neighbouring State Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Committees and financial assistance from the Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India has planned and developed an Integrated Common Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (ICHWTSDF) at village Pali in the Faridabad District. According to HEMS, the facility got commissioned in the year 2009 and since then HEMS is facilitating Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) to industries in Haryana. HEMS has declared that the facility sprawls over an area of 31 Acres. The TSDF is estimated to cater for about 35 years, which means it could sustain till 2044. The TSDF has a capacity of (1) Secured Land Fill – 2 MMT, (2) Treatment – 2.4 MTA and (3)   Incineration – 2.5 x 10KiloCalorie per hour.

In a legal agreement document, M/s Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure (Haryana) Pvt. Ltd. (GEPIL) describes itself as it leads the Consortium of Members has been awarded the work for the development of the above TSDF. The work has been awarded by HEMS, which is acting as a nodal agency of the Government of Haryana. The agreement dated 7th November 2014 was found to be a tool to offer complete protection to GEPIL and all responsibilities and questions lie on the shoulders of a legitimate member of HEMS. There are several conditions specified in the agreement, which could have been simplified with one line that the onus of compliance with regard to the conditions of an authorization granted by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) lies on the part of the industry, except the condition pertaining to transportation and disposal; which is in the part of GEPIL.

One of the conditions in the agreement reads that the Client (which is referred to an industry or any other establishment generating hazardous wastes) shall maintain records of hazardous wastes generated, stored and sent for treatment and disposal to GEPIL (Haryana). Such records are subject to check and physical verification by authorized representatives of GEPIL (Haryana) through a visit to Clients’ premises. This dictatorial condition differs from HEMS statement “Many people hear ‘environmental management’ and immediately think of two things: bureaucracy and expense. But the effort on environmental protection for us has yielded opportunities of real-world, long-term cost savings in areas like reduced power and water use in every type of industries. Perhaps even more significant is the possible positive impact in the face value to obtain a better image. A section of our members had created a workplace that was less likely to generate injuries or serious environmental accidents. Less risk means greater opportunity for return on investment. We’re told the potential impact of our initiative, taken with other factors, is a point for improvement. Now, that’s the kind of savings that makes industrial leaders and the public both very happy.” As such according to all the rules pertaining to hazardous waste management requires maintenance of records those are subject to verification by the SPCB officials. In this case, the condition of GEPIL (Haryana) needs to be clarified and not be dictatorial.

Another condition was found to be reading “Client shall be responsible for the loading of hazardous wastes into the vehicle within 3 hours”. There are several small and micro-scale industrial units, which generate hazardous wastes. All of those industries face the difficulties arising from manpower. Hazardous waste handling is not anybody’s job. Therefore, this condition pushes the industry into the compulsion of either additional expenditure to hire external manpower, which is impractical or to handle through whatever human resource available at the time of dispatch. This needs to be pondered upon and all the industry members, as well as the Government Bodies including HSPCB, need to impose a condition on GEPIL (Haryana) to find a solution and install an automatic system to reduce human involvement in the process of hazardous waste loading.

The agreement under the heading of “Rejection of Waste” puts a clause that there should not be a variation in hazardous waste characteristics by more than 5% when compared with the Finger Print Analysis. But the condition does not clarify the mechanism of assessment and comparison. However, according to information from the HEMS, the GEPIL (Haryana) representative should carry out a “Quick Check Analysis”. The Client industries must know this fact and verify whether GEPIL (Haryana) has actually done the assessment at site.

The Finger Print Analysis Reports mostly contain data on mg/L. But it does not explain whether the sample was liquid of dry. However, considering data of “loss on drying”, it is obvious that the sludge sample was not liquid. And therefore, the result should be expressed in mg/Kg, so that it could further be related with various other data as required in annual returns to be filed by both parties to meet legal obligations.

A clause that reads “During the wet period of monsoon season, hazardous wastes may not be accepted at the TSDF Site. During this period Client is required to make a provision to store its Hazardous Waste for a minimum period of four months, as per the requirement of HSPCB.” However, this clause has not cited any reference of HSPCB requirement. This clause contravenes the provisions of 8 (1) of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016. If this condition is unique and unchanged for all the hazardous waste occupiers, a huge legal crisis looms in the case of large scale waste generators. Hence, this clause in the agreement needs to be deliberated. And if it was a requirement of HSPCB, then the Board should get this amended in the central notification, which has been revised several times since 1989.

There is an exclusion of six types of hazardous wastes, which has been described as to be detrimental to the environment, and thus, not to be sent to TSDF. HEMS has been described as a nodal agency of the Haryana Government. In such a scenario, a legitimate and obvious question comes is whether any such hazardous waste is being generated in Haryana? If yes, what is the management practice being offered by HEMS and the entire Consortium of Members?

Industrial establishments need to review their agreements and think over this deliberation to lead hassle-free compliance. It is also unclear on whether HEMS is aware of the status of capacity utilization of the TSDF and the next future course of action and also, whether it is communicated to all the members in the state.

(This article was published in the 36th issue of Enviro Annotations)

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Author: Enviro Annotations

Environmental Weekly Newspaper

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