MoEF & CC Publishes Draft Notification on 100% Utilization of Ash by Thermal Power Plants. Fixes Responsibilities and Proposes Fines
By Dr. Yashpal Singh, Chairman, The Wealthy Waste School India
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India has published a draft notification no. G.S.R. 285(E) dated 22/04/2021 and invited comments from the public within 60 days of the date of publication. The said draft notification generally provides that:
1. Every coal or lignite based thermal power plant (inclusive of Captive and/or co generating stations) shall be primarily responsible to ensure 100% utilization of fly ash in an Eco-friendly manner as follows:
- Manufacturing of brick/blocks/tiles.
- Cement manufacture, Ready mix concrete
- Construction of road and flyover embankment, Ash and Geo-polymer based construction material.
- Construction of dam. Filling up of low lying areas
- Filling of mine voids
- Manufacture of sintered/cold bonded ash aggregate
- Agriculture in a controlled manner based on soil testing.
- Construction of shoreline protection structures in coastal districts.
- Export of ash to other countries
- Any other Eco friendly purpose as notified from time to time.
- A committee is proposed to be constituted under the Chairman, CPCB to examine, review and recommend Eco-friendly ways of utilization of ash and to suggest any modification/amendments to the list.
2. The 100% utilization shall be accomplished during the year. However, in no case shall utilization fall below 80% in any year. An average ash utilization of 100% shall be achieved in a three year cycle. This 03 year period shall be extendable in certain cases where the utilization in 2021-22 is less than 60% (Para 4 of the notification).
3. The utilization of accumulated ash (legacy ash) stored before the publication of this notification shall be completed by the TPP fully within 10 years of publication of this notification in a phased manner. This is in addition to annual disposal based on current operations. This legacy utilization is not required where ash ponds/dykes have stabilized and reclaimed with green belt/plantation. Concerned State Pollution shall certify in this regards.
4. Any new thermal power plant may be permitted an emergency/temporary ash pond with an area of 0.1 HA per MW as per CPCB guidelines.
5. Loading, unloading, transport, storage and disposal of ash shall be carried out after taking all precautions to prevent Air and Water Pollution.
6. All plants shall install dedicated dry fly ash silos, having separate access roads, for storage of at least 16 hours of ash, based on installed capacity. It shall be monitored by the CPCB/SPCB from time to time.
7. Every plant shall provide real time data on availability of ash with TPP by providing link to CPCB server.
8. The statutory obligation of 100% utilization of ash shall be treated as a change in law, wherever applicable.
9. The following provisions have also been made.
- All agencies engaged in construction activities such as road laying, road and flyover embankments, shoreline protection structures in coastal districts and dams within 300 Kms of a TPP shall mandatorily utilize ash in these activities provided it is delivered at the project site free of cost and transportation cost is borne by TPP or is acquired on mutually agreed terms in case TPP is able to dispose the ash through other means. It has been clarified that provision of ash free of cost and free transportation would only be applicable if TPP serves a notice on the construction agency for the same.
- All mines located within 300 kilometers of TPP will undertake back filling of ash in mine voids/mixing of ash with external over burden dumps under extended producers responsibility (25% ash on weight to weight basis). The ash will be supplied on a cost free and transportation free basis as per guidelines once a notice is served on the mine owner by the TPP.
- Filling of low lying areas with ash shall be carried out with prior permission of the State Pollution Control Board as per guidelines of the CPCB. SPCB shall publish details of sites and permissible disposal.
- All building and construction projects within 300 kms of a TPP shall use ash bricks, tiles, sintered ash aggregate or other ash based products provided these are made available at prices not higher than the price of alternative products
10. A system of fines for non compliance has been introduced
- Rs. 1000 per ton on unutilized ash and unutilized legacy ash during the end of the financial year.
- Fines shall be deposited in designated account of CPCB.
- A fine of Rs. 1500 per ton on transporters/vehicle owners on quantities of ash mis-delivered to authorized users or non delivered to authorized users, besides prosecution by SPCB/PCC.
- A fine of Rs. 1500 per ton on the purchase/user agency if the fly ash is not utilized in an Eco-friendly manners.
- Rs. 1500 per ton of ash for the quantity of short fall between actual utilization and notified utilization as intimated by TPP.
- The fine collected from the TPP and other defaulters shall be used towards the safe disposal of unutilized ash. The liability of ash utilization shall be with TPP’s even after imposition of fines on unutilized quantities.
- In case a TPP achieves the ash utilization of any particulars cycle after imposition of fines in subsequent cycles, the said amount shall be returned to the TPP after deducting 10% of the fine collected on the unutilized quantity during the next cycle. Deduction of 20%, 30% and so on, of the fine collected is to be made in case of utilization of ash in subsequent cycles
11. Supply of ash/ash based products is to be managed through the owner of the TPP giving notice to persons liable to utilize ash or ash based products. The persons who have been served notices may then intimate the TPP of quantities required or if they cannot use the ash because of prior arrangements with other TPP’s.
12. Compliance audit by certified auditor of the CPCB has been provided. These reports have to be submitted to the CPCB/SPCB by 30th November each year.