Poll Res.

29 (4) : 557-561 (2010)

Copyright © EM International


Environmental Impact Assessment Division, Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Anaikatty (PO), Coimbatore - 641108, India.
A systematic study has been carried out to assess the functioning efficiency of 11 Individual effluent treatment plants (IETPs) and one common effluent treatment plant (CETP) in textile city of Tiruppur. The ETPs were asked to run for five working days and inlet and outlet effluent sampling was carried out from each ETP during morning and evening of all working days. The effluent samples were analysed for major physiochemical characteristics such as pH, TDS, Total alkalinity, Chloride, Total hardness, BOD, COD, and Sulphate. Pollution load and removal efficiency of each ETPs were calculated from the analysis results. The results of analysis shows that not all units are functioning effectively in removing the pollutant despite their share of pollution load were proportionate to the pollution load (TDS) of whole ETPs in Tiruppur. Thus it reflect generalized situation of ETPs in Tiruppur. Therefore, it requires urgent attention from regulatory boards to look on the irregularities prevailing in ETPs of Tiruppur textile industrial cluster.

KEY WORDS: Tiruppur, Pollution load, Wet processing units, Effluent treatment plants (ETPs). INTRODUCTION Wet processing units of textile industry are considered among the most water consuming and polluting industrial sector (Nemerow 1978). The environmental (Protection) act (1986) of India consider textile wet processing units such as dyeing units under as severely polluting industry, and bleaching, printing units as moderately polluting industries. The Hazardous waste (Management and handling) Rules (1989) also consider the wastes generated from these industries as hazardous wastes. The effluents from these industries contain wide verity of pollutants such as organic compounds, inorganic salt, dyes, and heavy metals (Senthilanathan and Azeez 1999, Baladhandapani 2008).They are deeply colored and have high BOD, COD, Total dissolved solids and Electrical conductivity (PRG 1998). Serious degradation of aquatic ecosystem, agriculture, surface and ground water resources, and health implications are some of the impacts posed by discharging this kind of untreated effluent into the environment (Nelliyat 2007, Yusuff and Sonibare, 2004). Direct release of effluents into rivers leads to daunting problems such
Corresponding author: Email: nishadhka@gmail.com

as wide dispersal of pollutants and cumulative concentration in reservoirs (Fun 2004). Appropriately treating the effluents, waste minimization through improved processing techniques, management practices, reuse, and recycle of the chemicals are some of the remedies prescribed for the high environmental footprint of this industry (Hendrick and Boardmen 2005). Techniques used for treating the effluents from textile wet processing include coagulation and / or flocculation, absorption, biological treatment, reverse osmosis, membrane ultra filtration, and oxidation. Tiruppur, commonly called as the "knitwear capital of India", has more than 9000 small-scale knitwear related units functioning, engaging more than 300000 people. The industrial clusters of Tiruppur, flanking the river Noyyal, contribute substantially to the foreign exchange earnings of the country. At present, about 1056wet processing units are working in Tiruppur and its periphery consuming around 90 million liters of water daily (MLD)generating around 87 MLD effluents per day (Baladhandapani 2008).Discharging the effluent as such into river Noyyal was the practice until 1997


NISHADH ET AL gadgets to fulfill the directives from the honorable high court. In this context, the present study was carried out on ten IETPs and one CETP, which have been using the conventional techniques for treating their effluents. The study aimed at characterizing the discharges, and to assess the efficiency of the ETPs in removing pollutants, and estimate pollution load released from each treatment plant.

when the Honorable High court of Madras forbade industries without treatment facilities from functioning. Various studies (Palanivel and Rajaguru 1999, Senthilanathan and Azeez, 1999, Fun, 2004) shows that the water in river Noyyal has become unfit for domestic, agricultural, aquaculture or industrial purposes, apart from spoiling the aquifers and decimating, simplifying or altering all the natural fish and invertebrate fauna in the river system. The Orathupalayam reservoir, a project conceived for irrigation, and located downstream of Tiruppur on the river Noyyal, since its commission stores the effluents. This has made the project futile and rather hazardous since it stores large quantity of effluents. Within almost 4 km radial distance from the reservoir ground water is enriched with total dissolved solids (TDS) and other pollutants and the farmers have abandoned agriculture. Realizing the environmental issues arising from the raw effluent discharge, the industrial units in Tiruppur were forced to establish Individual Effluent Treatment Plants (IETPs) or Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) (Nelliyat 2007). Since majority of the wet processing in Tiruppur are undertaken by Small Scale Industrial (SS!)units, all of them have adopted low cost conventional physico-chemical treatment techniques such as coagulation, flocculation, absorption and low cost filtration techniques like sand filters. These steps were essentially meant to deal with the official queries and to obtain permission to operate. Therefore, the techniques adopted were not effective in removing TDS or color from the effluents that first caught public attention. Moreover, these techniques were chemically intensive and produced large quantity of sludge that added another dimension to the environmental troubles of Tiruppur. The prolonged release of untreated or partially treated effluent and the lack of any respite from its damaging effects lead to the honorable High court of Madras enforcing the concept of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) on all industrial units in Tiruppur. This forced the treatment plants to go for techniques such as reverse osmosis (RO) and bioreactor techniques and to reuse treated water. However, being small scale units, many textile-processing units face severe financial crunch and are unable to afford finances required for modern treatment plants. Several of the units approached the high court to get a reprieve and to get permission to operate making use of their existing ETPs so that they can activate their business and raise finances from banks to install modern

The textile wastewater Samples from the 10 IETPs (ETP A-J) and 1 CETP (ETP K) were collected from 11 April 2009 to 16 April 2009. Two liters of samples were collected following standard sampling protocols (APHA 1992) in pre-treated/laboratory cleaned plastic containers in the morning and evening from the inlet and outlet of each ETP. Total Dissolved Solid (TDS), pH, and Electrical conductivity were determined using respective digital meters. About 300 ml of each sample was taken separately in BOD bottle to estimate dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand. The samples, maintained in low temperature under frozen gel pack, were transferred to the laboratory, and stored until further processing and analysis. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) was determined by the dichromate digestion method while biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) was determined by the Winkler's method. The standard methods were was used for estimating alkalinity, chloride, total hardness, nitrate, phosphate, and sulphate. The removal efficiency (percentage removal) of ETP was calculated as the difference in various parameters between the inlet and the outlet. The cumulative and instant flows of wastewater to the ETPs were measured from the electromagnetic flow meters installed in each unit. The average pollution load from each ETPs were estimated by multiplying volume of the wastewater with mean pollutant concentration ( DECC 2008).

The pH in the ETPs was different in each sampling day; the highest variation was seen in the outlet of CETP (K). Pollutant removal efficiency of each ETP is shown in the Table 1. It was observed that no ETP except that of the unit J E, E were efficient in reducing the pH of the effluent. The TDS value was higher than Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB 1998) maximum permissible limit (2100 mg/L) for

FUNCTIONING EFFICIENCY OF CERTAIN TEXTILE EFFLUENT TREATMENT PLANTS disposal to inland surface water. The highest TDS was seen in inlet of ETP-F, and the highest removal efficiency was seen in the case of ETP-E; Nevertheless ETP-E also did not remove TDS to meet the CPCB norms. Total alkalinity was observed highest in inlet of ETP-G. All the ETPs reduced alkalinity in the effluents. Chloride was removed by seven ETPs and maximum reduction of 47% in chloride was observed in ETP-J. Other than the ETPs J and I in all other plants removal of Chloride was not sufficient to agree with the CPCB norms (1000 mg/L). Total hardness was removed by 8 ETPs and maximum removal efficiency was observed in ETP H, while increase in total hardness in outlet samples was observed in ETPs B, J and K. Removal of BOD was seen in ETPs B, C, E, and K. Of these, ETP-K was seen to remove the highest (about 90%). However, the final concentration of BOD in the discharge was above the CPCB norms (30 mg/L) in Table 1. Removal Efficiencyof ETPs
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all samples from ETPs. COD was removed by five ETPs, of which maximum removal was observed in ETP-J (63%). Other than ETP-H, in all other ETPs increase in the final Sulphate concentration was seen. In the case of ETP-J, the rise was highest (204 %). Regarding pollution loads (Table 3), all the ETPs are found discharging high quantities, especially in the form of TDS, to the environment. Pollution load in terms of TDS generated by the ten IETPs and one CETP under present study was about 2% of total TDS load discharged by all treatment plants in Tiruppur. DISCUSSION From the analysis, it is observed that not any of the eleven ETPs are effective in treating the textile effluents. Although these treatment plants are removing certain pollutants to a certain level their

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 A B C D E


(mg/L) -14.67 -14.87 -6.87 4.85 21.12 12.33 10.27 -9.67 -3.38 -11.35 -13.36


Total Alkalinity (mg/L) 90.44 46.45 13.50 64.05 68.50 73.22 76.32 86.51 56.07 57.78 89.10

(mg/L) -16.40 -5.76 -1.67 44.79 30.47 33.61 6.52 39.51 14.03 47.27 -17.73


TH (mg/L) 19.42 -4.96 7.54 14.41 23.62 23.64 21.86 41.08 17.72 -37.90 -83.56

BOD (mg/L) -54.55 4.00 15.00 N/A 22.22 N/A N/A -57.14 -43.75 N/A 91.67

COD (mg/L) -32.00 18.22 -1.09 18.67 35.14 0.00 -1.06 -11.11 15.79 62.73 -10.97

(mg/L) -20.84 -18.74 -6.35 -6.67 -12.63 -8.80 -3.77 14.25 -73.25 -204.55 -9.38





-29.19 0.94 -8.17 -7.23 6.03 -7.69 -0.74 -36.77 -10.13 12.10 -4.55

- Not sampled * All the values are in percentage removal Table 2. Pollution Load from ETPs Industries A B C D E F

Average flow rate (KL/D) 300 100 6 100 200 200 150 200 155 60 1600


(kg/D) 1475.4 426.3 13.344 311.125 947.4 1194.5 470.25 950.72 176.452 52 9084.8

(kg/D) 1170.1 341.7 9.7 228.8 782.7 718.0 357.3 434.3 130.5 25.7 9133.7


TH (kg/D) 231.6 158.6 5.9 72.8 97.0 105.0 134.1 104.4 54.7 30.2 2625.6

BOD (kg/D) 103.4 24.3 1.0 n/a 56.8 n/a n/a 89.2 72.3 n/a 64.9

COD (kg/D) 99.0 36.8 3.3 33.8 71.6 126.0 35.6 80.0 34.7 12.0 550.4

(kg/D) 60.3 22.7 0.9 15.1 38.7 33.7 23.3 23.8 14.5 9.3 335.5






NISHADH ET AL operation. Pollution load based regulatory norms, which can be inclusive of the temporal variability in pollutant concentration (Baladhandapani 2008),can help dealing with this. More than three decades of intense textile business has largely degraded the environment of Tiruppur and downstream of Noyyal river, Therefore treating the effluent cannot be the sole means of dealing with the problem of environment. This should be linked with revitalizing the river Noyyal, which largely has turned to be urban and industrial drain. A river Noyyal that carries monsoonal fresh water and the Orathupalayam reservoir storing fresh monsoonal water can help revitalizing the downstream areas including agriculture fields and ground water aquifers. The concept of 'Zero Liquid Discharge' though environmentally a very effective and practical step for pollution problem, implementing it in Tiruppur have financial and commercial implications. It also has technological constraints and implementation of it requires attitudinal changes among entrepreneurs and managers of industrial units. Most of the changes in environmental quality in Tiruppur have happened because of judicial interventions. To transform textile industrial cluster in Tiruppur to a sustainable and environmentally benign one apart from judicial interventions, interventions from citizens groups, NGOs and independent monitoring agencies are to be involved. Moreover, the entrepreneurs essentially need to realize that the cost of production of hosiery should be inclusive of the environmental cost. It is very much possible to reduce the environmental costs if apt business strategy is adopted. It is fore sure that recycling water itself can help pay back the investments in effluent treatment. The production strategy in Tiruppur, essentially should involve educating the workers, optimal chemical usage waste minimization, recycling, effective use of resources and stringent penalization for defaulters. REFERENCES
American Public Health Association

discharges do not satisfy the regulatory norms, clearly indicating the inefficiency, irregular functioning, and flawed operation. The present study reflects the generalized picture of ETP operation in industrial clusters like Tiruppur. It urges the public and regulatory bodies to be cognizant of the flaws in pollution control measures. The plants are using inorganic coagulants such as ferrous sulphate and polyelectrolyte, and these coagulants are inefficient for reactive dye and broad range pH effluents. Ferrous sulphate widely used as coagulant in these ETPs for its low cost requires a pH range of above 9.5 for effective coagulation (Howard et al1985) However, the huge variation of outlet pH in CETP-K indicates the lack of care in running the setup leading to unsatisfactory performance of the plant. It is observed that alkalinity plays a major role in effective coagulation by maintaining the buffering capability; reduced alkalinity drops the pH and impairs coagulation. Calcium hydroxide used for hardness removal, is effective in the pH range of 9.0-9.5. However, in several ETPs the pHs was well below this range or was found widely varying. Addition of optimum quantity of coagulants is vital in effective coagulation process. It appears that coagulants are added in a careless manner. Educating and training the workers playa significant role in ETP's efficient functioning (Nese et al. 2007). The unsatisfactory performance of the ETPs is a concern of optimization and maintenance. Personal interviews with the workers of each plant indicate their general ignorance about treatment techniques especially on optimization of plant functioning and management. In Tirupur, monitoring ETPs for its effective function is carried out by occasional inspection by authorities. Knowing fully well this, the ETPs are likely to be operated accordingly. Surprise visits by the authorities, meticulous maintenance of logbooks and power consumptions records, and formation of citizens vigilance committees are options for circumventing this situation. Real time electrometric sensors of TDS along with recording each day observation can also help in proper monitoring ETPs in Tiruppur. This can also help in imposing pollution load charges. Current regulatory norms (CPCB 1998)largely focus on discrete quantification of pollutant in effluent and are not inclusive of continuous operation of the industry, effluent generation, and variability of pollutant in the effluents. The temporal variability of pollutant concentration is aided by ETPs irregular and flawed

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