Almost a year after directing oil companies to ensure fuel stations are at least 50 metres away from schools, hospitals and residential areas, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has now asked them to maintain similar distance from water bodies too. The move is aimed at protecting the water bodies from getting any possible contamination due to seepage of diesel or petrol, if any.
The draft guidelines come in the backdrop of opposition by residents and environmentalists in Haryana over the Government’s plan to allot 15,000 square metres of forest land in Chakkarpur village to Indian Oil Corporation to set up a fuel station, which they alleged would contaminate a nearby water channel in the fragile area.
The CPCB draft guidelines said that all the surface water bodies irrespective of utility shall be protected from any possible contamination. “These include lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetland, sea and any other. Retail outlets shall not be located within a distance of 50 metres from the nearest point of water bodies. In case of streams and rivers, the distance shall be considered from flood plain.”
As a preventive measure, retail outlets coming within 50 meter to 100 metre from the nearest point of surface water body shall have secondary containment by way of double walled tanks or concrete protection walls so as to minimise groundwater soil contamination, said the guidelines which have been posted on the CPCB website for comments and suggestions by February 2, 2021.
It further said that ground water quality monitoring of retail outlets within 100 meter from the nearest point of surface water bodies shall be conducted by the OMCs once in every quarter.
Last year, an expert committee comprising members from IIT Kanpur, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and CPCB had framed the guidelines for setting up of new petrol pumps in the country. It had prohibited setting up petrol pumps close to the schools, hospitals and residences citing health hazards.
The expert committee was set up on the directions of the NGT which is seized of a plea seeking a cap on the number of petrol pumps so as to avoid their adverse effects on the environment.
As per the guidelines, “Retail outlets shall not be located within a radial distance of 50 meters from schools, hospitals (10 beds and above) and residential areas designated as per local laws. In case of constraints in providing 50 meters distance, the retail outlet shall implement additional safety measures as prescribed by PESO(Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation).
“In no case, the distance between new retail outlets from schools, hospitals and residential areas shall be less than 30 meters. No high tension line shall pass over the retail outlet,” the CPCB guidelines said.