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Southern States - Tamil Nadu-Chennai

ETPS sets up plant to treat ash slurry
By S. Vydhianathan

CHENNAI, JAN. 10. A sustained campaign by environmentalists and fishermen in and around Ennore against disposal of ash slurry by the Ennore Thermal Power Station into the Bay of Bengal for over 30 years has yielded result, thanks to a Rs. 73 crore-treatment plant set up by the power station.

The new plant, which came into operation recently has put an end to daily discharge of about 1500 tonnes of slurry mixed water into the sea, thereby prevented environmental degradation of sea and saved marine population.

The practice of directly discharging ash slurry into the sea through pipelines affecting the marine population had been on since 1970 despite protest by fishermen and environmentalists. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board too objected it.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to which the Ennore station was attached found there were only two alternatives. First was to construct an ash dyke on the land near the station for disposal of slurry or to collect the ash in dry form and sell it to fly ash based industries.

A technical consultant who was asked to study the feasibility of these two alternatives, suggested construction of two ash ponds with a stilling pond. But identifying the construction material for pond was difficult and the cost too was high.

At this juncture, the IIT Chennai mooted the idea of constructing a bund to a height of about four metres first and subsequently increasing it by another 7 ft using deposited ash in stages.

The slurry-mixed water, is now first let into a primary pond in 270 acres, where it is allowed to deposit. From there, the slurry-free decanted water is treated through clarifloculator system and then let into Koratiliyar river. The station is also studying the possibility of treated water for utilising in cooling water tower.

Through this dyke about 90 per cent of the slurry is treated while the rest is sold out in dry form to ash-based manufacturing units.

The Electricity Minister, D. Jayakumar, who inspected the newly-formed ash dyke with the TNEB Chairman, K. Gnanadesikan, told newsmen that with the establishment of the new plant, a long pending demand of fishermen had been met. As the p.h value of ash slurry was high, it endangered the lives of fish population in Ennore area.

With the stoppage of ash slurry disposal, fish population would automatically improve thereby providing abundance availability for local fishermen, he added.

The Electricity Minister, D. Jayakumar, along with the TNEB Chairman, K. Gnanadesikan, inspecting the secondary pond of the ash dyke at the Ennore Thermal Power Station on Thursday. _ Photo: N. Balaji

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