The state government-run Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd (Omfed) milk plant in Chandasekharpur here is facing potential closure as the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has decided to cut short by six months the promised 18 months Omfed had been given for operationalizing its existing effluent treatment plant (ETP). An ETP is required to treat waste water generated from milk processing.
Last year in February, the pollution watchdog, during a personal hearing of Omfed officials, had given 18 months to Omfed to run the ETP. However, the board on March 8 issued a letter refusing to give the final six months to Omfed.
“Omfed had sought time to upgrade and operationalize the existing ETP and we had given them 18 months, but they haven’t complied yet,” OSPCB regional officer (Bhubaneswar) Hadibandhu Panigrahi said.
An OSPCB official, “Since Omfed hasn’t taken any action to run the ETP in the past 12 months, we decided to cut short the time given by six months. Omfed will have to operationalize the ETP immediately or else it will face closure.”
Omfed chairman-cum-managing director B P Sethi told TOI that they haven’t received any closure notice yet from the pollution board. “We will comply with the pollution norms within 18 months,” he said.
Pollution board sources said the defunct ETP was resulting in pollution of water in nearby localities. A board official said the residual water after milk processing contains high amounts of fat and other polluting chemicals. “We tested the water samples in the area and found high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). This results in the oxygen level going down and the water smells foul,” said the officer.
Omfed’s existing ETP has a capacity to treat 200 kilo litre of water per day. But, with milk production going up, Omfed is using 400 kilo litre of water a day. Currently, the plant produces 2.5 lakh litre of milk. The pollution board had also asked Omfed to upgrade the ETP to treat 400 kilo litre water.