MANGALURU: Discharge of blackish oily water from the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) into the storm water drain in the refinery area, has contaminated water bodies in the region, setting off alarm bells among those living in and around Jokatte and Thokur. Locals complain that they have been seeing blackish water flowing into the Thokur stream since the last one week.
The Nagarika Horata Samiti, a committee formed by locals to take up community issues, complained to MRPL officials about the problems they are facing due to discharge of brackish water. However, contaminated water continues to flow into the Thokur stream and River Phalguni. Locals pointed out that the problem had cropped up about six years ago when petrochemical waste water was let into storm water drains. However, back then, immediate action was taken after a massive protest.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, MRPL General Manager (corporate communications) Dr Rudolph Noronha maintained that as soon as they received a complaint from locals about oily water being found in the marshy land in the refinery area, the environment officials checked the area and found layers of the oil in the water. Some units were shut down owing to low demand in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and they carried out maintenance of those units, he pointed out.
KSPCB issues notice to MRPL
“Some of the cleaned oily water, which is stored in the Contaminated Rain Water (CRW) system, must have escaped to the neighbouring storm water channels. We have deployed our gully suckers and we have a super-sucking equipment to remove oil along the path leading to the storm water channel. We have also reported the matter to the Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
With their guidance, we will prevent recurrence of this kind of situation. We have plans to deploy oil catchers along the storm water channels,” Dr Noronha explained. KSPCB officer Keerthi Kumar told TNIE that they have collected samples and a notice has been issued to MRPL to take immediate action.