Jaap A Walkate, Ambassador for the Netherlands, accompanied by Teuris Halff, Consul General, visited the Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CET) project in the Korangi Tannery Area.

This is an ambitious project which the Dutch Government is participating by providing technical assistance to the tune of Rs20 million.

Gulzar Firoz, who is the chairman of the Environmental Society of Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA-ES), briefed the visitors on the basis of the plant:

a) Up-flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) technology which requires less space, lower maintenance and lower energy requirements

b) The UASB-based plant will be simpler to operate and have lower operating costs. After going through the UASB process the effluent will be subjected to aerobic post treatment to meet discharge standards

c) A pilot plant was built and operated at the site for 18 months to test the UASB process and establish design parameters for the main plant. Detailed design of the CETP has been completed. Civil works began in February this year. Mechanical and electrical designs for the CETP have also been completed and tenders are ready

d) In order to reduce the pollution load at the source, the project will cover pretreatment within tanneries. This would involve segregation of drains carrying beamhouse and tan-yard effluents, installation of screens on effluent drains, construction of pits, promotion of salt dusting etc

e) Recovery of over 90% of the chromium from the chrome liquor can be undertaken at the tannery level. The system has dual benefits. First, it obviates the need for costly treatment of effluent/sludge and secondly, recovery cost is much less and the recovered chrome can be reused

f) While management of solid waste is basically the responsibility of the municipality, in order to make the tannery zone cleaner and improve working conditions, project vehicles remove around 500 to 800 tons of solid waste each month from the tannery zone. The project is also maintaining the existing drains through regular cleaning and removal of sludge

g) Capital cost of the project, excluding cost of land, is Rs490 million (US$7,994,126). Of this, Rs334 million have been committed through the government’s Export Development Fund, while the tanners are generating Rs136 million. The Netherlands is providing a Technical Assistance Grant of Rs20 million for designing of the project

h) Construction of the CETP is expected to be complete by the end of 2002. Subsequently, the commissioning phase will start. The project is expected to be fully commissioned and complete by June, 2003. Upon its completion, treated effluent from the CETP will conform to the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).