High levels of groundwater pollution, no space for rainwater, raise alarm in Hyderabad industrial area

With the groundwater severely-polluted, its use by local residents and industries ceased completely, as a result, the groundwater has now come close to the surface. 

Published: 30th May 2019 10:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2019 10:57 AM   |  A+A-

bubbles rise as the severely-polluted groundwater overflows onto the surface in Gaddapotharam indusrial area | S Senbagapandiyan

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Last-ditch attempts are being made at Gaddapotharam and Kazipally industrial areas with technical help from National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) to contain the extremely-polluted groundwater from spilling over onto the surface. For over three decades, bulk drug companies recklessly polluted the groundwater in Gaddapotharam and Kazipally, located just outside the Greater Hyderabad area in Dundigal, Sangareddy district. With the groundwater severely-polluted, its use by local residents and industries ceased completely, as a result, the groundwater has now come close to the surface. 

ALSO READ | ‘Threat  has been contained but not rooted out’

A dog rests in a stream of polluted
groundwater oozing onto the surface

Geohydrological investigations conducted by a team of scientists from NGRI, with Dr MJ Nandan as principal investigator, showed that one can hit groundwater here at depths as small as 60 centimetres to 1 metre. This has saturated most of the land with groundwater, so much so that, when it rains there, not much space is left in the ground to accommodate the extra rainwater. And soon, low-lying areas and those close to natural streams, are inundated with the polluted groundwater which starts to ooze out of the ground. 

Another threat during rains is that of the polluted water mixing with nearby waterbodies, which is what led to the massive fish-kill of 2017 in Gandigudem lake, located downstream of Gaddapotharam. In its aftermath, the Telangana State Pollution Control Board formed the Model Industrial Association, an association of industries from the two industrial areas and brought in NGRI to study geohydrology of the region. The tests conducted by NGRI last year pointed to one major crisis that needed to be tackled immediately—seepage of groundwater at over 23 locations across Gaddapotharam and Kazipally industrial areas where the groundwater oozes out for most parts of the year. 

The NGRI has suggested various measures for controlling this seepage, especially during rains, like decreasing the depth of shallow drains (above 60 cm), sealing a piece of vacant land having a lot of seepage with geotextile, installing seepage cut-walls outside industrial premises and decreasing the level of a sump where the seepage is stored. When Express visited the industrial areas on Wednesday, two days ahead of the deadline of May 31, some companies were still taking up the measures and the open land identified by NGRI for sealing with geotextile was yet to be completed.

Preventing recharge due to rains
The aim is to ensure that there is no recharge of groundwater with rainwater for which TSPCB has given a deadline of May 31 to industries to take up the required measures

48 Total industries

Bulk drug 30 
Chemical
Pesticide formulation 2
API formulation 1
Blending and packaging 2
Engineering: 2
Galvanizing 2
Common hazardous waste disposal facility 1
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