In a major punitive action against river pollution, the Department of Environment (DoE) has ordered the suspension of operation of state-owned Hathazari 100MW Peaking Power Plant for discharging untreated toxic liquid waste into a water body connected to the Halda River.
The environment protection agency also slapped a fine of Tk 2 million on the power plant on Wednesday (Jul 18), a hefty fine for the second time since its inauguration back in 2012.
It asked the authorities of the plant not to resume operation until they set up and activate an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and an Oil-Water Separator. The DoE also asked it to dispose of the sludge without causing any harm to the environment.
Confirming the action for Bangla Tribune, Muktadir Hasan, assistant director of DoE (Chittagong region), said the action was taken under Section-7 of the Environment Conservation Act (1995).
A recent visit to the power plant premises prompted the DoE authorities to take a hard line as evidence of dumping untreated liquid waste was found at that time, Muktadir said.
“If the power plant authorities do not agree with us (regarding the action), they can appeal to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, within seven working days,” he said.
On a spot visit late last week, the DoE team found that the errant power plant was dumping untreated liquid waste into a water body using a bypass drain without passing the waste through an ETP.
They also found the Oil-Water Separator dysfunctional. Moreover, the sludge was not disposed of properly, and was washing down with rainwater into the Halda, the country’s largest natural breeding ground for carp.
According to BPDB, sixty-six of the country’s 133 power plants are oil-fired.