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An India Case Study on

CEIA for Proposed

Natural Gas-Based Power Plant

Produced for AED’s training program under the USAID SARI/Energy project, by the School of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development (schEMS) in Nepal, with support from IRG Systems South Asia

1.0 Description of Project

Tamil Nadu is one of the states in India suffering from power deficit. The demand of energy is expected to increase by 5% requiring an additional capacity of 2058 MW within the next five years. Out of the existing installed capacity of 8249 MW, 64% is contributed by the government sector while the remaining 12% and 24% are contributed by private sectors and central government. Under the framework of power policy of Government of Tamil Nadu, involvement of private sector entrepreneurs is encouraged to develop power in order to reduce the power shortage in the State. This proposal is one of the responses of the policy under which the private-sector proponent has proposed to install Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) to generate 52.8 MW at Vazhuthur of Ramanathapuram district. The cost for the proposed project is estimated to be 246 corers. However, environmental clearance is required and therefore, a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (CEIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) of the proposed project have been conducted.

1.1 Location of the project

The proposed power project is located at about 1km South of Vazhuthur village and 3km North-East of Valantharavi village of Ramanathapuram district and it covers an area of 18.11 acres of agricultural land. The proposed site is located 13th Km from Ramanathapuram-Rameswaram Highway. The nearest railway station is Ramanathapuram and Airport is Madurai located at a distance of 110 Km Northwest of the site. The nearest seaport is 120 Km Southwest of the proposed site.

1.2 The project Proposal

(This chapter may need a brief description on project features)

2. Environmental Impact Assessment and Focus of the study

The major objective of application of EIA/EMP is to integrate environmental issues in the

planning stage of the project. At the project level, the specific objectives of this study are:

ß To assess the condition of environment around the proposed site.

ß To assess the quantum of pollution that occurs after commissioning the projects and its impact on the surroundings;

ß To formulate a suitable EMP including control methods to:

o Ensure that quantum of pollution will be well within the limits prescribed by the statutory agencies;

o Recommend mitigative measures to address adverse environmental impacts;

ß To recommend a post-project monitoring plan;

ß To obtain statutory clearance from MEF, GOI.

The major focuses of the study are:

ß Identification of baseline status of the environment;

ß Identification and quantification of potential significant impacts due to operations of the proposed project;

ß Critical evaluation of impacts on environmental quality;

ß Recommendation of the impact abatement measures;

ß Formulation of environmental management plan for the mitigation of adverse impacts; and

ß Recommendation of post-project monitoring programs.

3. Nature and scope of Issue

Major issues identified during scoping are follows:

ß Topography and Land use;

ß Climatic Conditions;

ß Air Quality;

ß Water Resources;

ß Water Availability and Water Usage;

ß Noise Quality;

ß Ecology including Marine Ecology; and

ß Socio-economic Conditions.

4. Social and Environmental setting

Topography and land use - The present topography of the study area is a coastal plain with sandy terrain where 30% of the buffer zone is occupied by sea. In the core area few small sand dunes were observed. Proposed project will be operationlized in 18.11 acres of land 34% of which will be utilized for project activities and 30% for developing greenbelt.

Air Quality: The potential for air pollution arises from fugitive emissions and impacts due to usage of natural gas. Therefore, dispersion of pollutants released into the atmosphere has significant impacts on the surrounding environment. These impacts have been superimposed on the present ambient air-quality parameters to find out the net impacts in the atmosphere. To mitigate the adverse impacts, an environment management plan has been prepared.

Water Resources: Wastewater generation from the proposed power plant will be conducted from different sources like Waste Heat Recovery Boiler (WHRB) blow down, service water, potable water, evaporation cooler, filter back wash and DM plant reject will be treated by effluent treatment plant while the treated water will be used for development of greenbelt. The waste oil from transformer yard, powerhouse area and engines will be collected and recovered.

Noise Level: DG sets are the sources of noise generation. The noise-level shall be maintained within the stipulated limit and mitigation measures will be proposed.

Ecology The Gulf of Mannara Marine Biosphere Reserve is a unique ecosystem, with over 9 species of live corals and harbouring a rich variety of fauna. Based on the survey of all the islands, the degree of human interference in the Biosphere was determined. The local people are exploiting animal species including fishes. Corals and Seaweeds are present in abundance, however their exploitation has exceeded the limitation. The yearly harvesting of these resources reaches up to 5000-7000 of dry weight. Dense growth of Mangroves exists in the coastal area; however, massive felling of these trees for different purposes has created enormous effects in the coastal ecosystem.

Socio-Economic Conditions:

The proposed project will utilize skilled manpower for operation and maintenance of the plant. Thus, employment opportunities will be created for the educated/skilled manpower of the region. The project will give a push to the other industrial/commercial avenues in this region, which will lead to the creation higher income in the region.

5.0 Process and Procedure

Policy & Regulatory Review

The initiatives on environmental protection including policy in India dates back to the fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74) subsequent to which an initial legislation was promulgated in 1974 with the goal of protecting water quality. This legislation, referred to as the Water (Pollution, Prevention and Control) Act, was followed in 1981 by the Air (Pollution Prevention and Control) Act and the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, an umbrella act that covered all the aspects of the environment and several others following this. Currently, the MoEF is the nodal agency at the central level responsible for planning, promoting, and coordinating environmental programs and formulating environmental policies. At the center, responsibilities for industrial pollution prevention and control are primarily executed by the CPCB, a statutory authority attached to the MoEF. The CPCB was constituted in September 1974 for implementing provisions of the Water Act and, in 1981, the Air Act. The State Department of Environment and Forests (SDEF) and the State

Pollution Control Board (SPCB) are the designated agencies to perform these functions at the state level.

Environment Protection Act, 1986

This is an umbrella legislation to provide for the protection and improvement of environment and for matters connected therewith. This act gives specific definitions, which are to be used in all rules enacted under this act. It provides power to the Central Government to take all such measures as it deems necessary in protecting and improving the quality of environment and preventing and abating environmental pollution. The central government also has to lay down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources giving regards to the quality or composition of the emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from such sources. Industries operating in India have to meet the following requirements to remain in compliance with the Environment Protection Act. Comply with the directions issued in writing by the Central Government within in a specified time as mentioned in the order. The directions may include:

ß Closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process; or

ß Stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity, water or any other service.

ß Prevention discharges or emissions of environmental pollutants exceeding the prescribed standards.

ß Furnishing of information to the prescribed agencies of any accidental or unforeseen event in which environmental pollutant(s) not conforming to the prescribed standards are being discharged, or are likely to be discharged, into the environment.

ß Allow Central Government or any official empowered by it, to take samples of air, water, soil or any other substance from the industrial establishment for the purpose of analysis.

ß Submit an “Environmental Statement” every year, before 30th September, to the PCB.

ß Obtain prior “Environmental Clearance” from MoEF, in case of a new project or for modernization/expansion of the existing project.

The penalties set under this act are imprisonment, which may extend up to 5 months and/or fines up to rupees hundred thousand. Incase of continuing offences, fines of Rs. 5000 per day may be charged.

Minimum National Standards (MINAS)

The rules under the Environment Protection Act provide specific standards for industry (total of 79 industry sectors) and general standards of discharge of environmental pollutants in Inland Surface water i.e. like lakes and rivers, public sewers, land for irrigation and coastal areas. Minimum National Standards for thermal power plants have been formulated for pollution control in India.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 1994

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India notified the Impact (EIA) Notification, 1994 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. As per the notification, 30 types of industries scheduled therein have to obtain the environmental clearance from the Government of India. Any organization, which desires to undertake any new project or expansion or modernization of any existing industry or project, with investment of more than Rs.5 crores, requires conducting an environmental impact assessment. These projects require an environmental clearance from the central government. The clearance granted is valid for a period of five years from commencement of the construction or operation of the project. No construction work, preliminary or otherwise, relating to the set up of the project may be undertaken till the environmental and/or site clearance is obtained.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

The Water Act established the general standards for effluent discharge into receiving water in order to prevent water pollution. The major responsibilities of SPCBs under the Act include granting consent to establish and operate facilities, restricting areas of operation, conducting surveys, and determining the use and misuse of streams and wells within its jurisdiction.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, as amended in 1987 to 99

The general legislative conditions of this act are similar to the Water Act in terms of obligations, responsibilities and penalties. The primary responsibility for controlling air pollution resides with the SPCB. Under the Air Act, the state governments are authorized to designate any area or areas within the state as an air pollution control area, after consulting with the SPCB and notifying the official gazette. Depending upon the quality of air in the designated area(s), the SPCB may set air emission standards in the notified area. The standards set by the SPCBs shall not be more lenient than the ambient air standards set by the CPCB. Any industry to be established in the air pollution control area must acquire the consent to establish and consent to operate from the state.

Noise Pollution (Control and Regulations) Rules, 1999

This rule is to reduce the noise pollution from various sources, inter-alia, industrial activities, public address systems, generator sets, construction activity, that may affects the physical and psychological well-being of the people. Ambient noise standards for different areas have been specified in Annexure of these rules. The Central Government or its designated authorities may categorize areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence zones for the purpose of implementation of noise standards for different areas. An area upto 100 meters around hospitals, educational institutions and courts and sensitive areas (i.e. forests) shall be declared as a silence zone for the purpose of these rules.

Other rules, which may be applicable from case to case, are as follows:

ß The Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989;

ß The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (MSIHC), 1989 (amended in October 1994 and January 2000);

ß Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;

ß The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995;

ß Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness & Response) Rules, 1996;

ß The Factories Act, 1948, (amendment in 1976 and 1987);

ß The Petroleum Act, 1934 and rules framed there under;

ß The Motor Vehicles Act (amended in 1988);

ß Gas Cylinder Rules, 1981;

6.0 Environmental Clearance process

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India had earlier notified through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994, the types of industries which are required to obtain the environmental clearance from the Government of India. As per the amendment Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, 30 dated 10.04.1997 issued in the EIA Notification, 1994, the Government of Tamilnadu issued orders for constituting public hearing panels to consider the views of the public on these projects. Public hearings are being conducted from the month of May 1998 onwards in the respective District Collectorates for the applications received for setting up certain specified industries/projects. On the recommendations of the public hearing panels, TNPCB issues No Objection Certificate (NOC) to such industries/projects. With the NOC of the Board and the EIA report, the proponents have to approach the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India or state government depending on the size of the project for obtaining environmental clearance. After production of environmental clearance obtained from the Government of India or state government, consent to establish is issued by the Board.

7.0 Environment Impact Assessment and Mitigation


Battelle Environmental Evaluation System consisting of a checklist comprising of 44 parameters were identified for this project. The checklist consists of selected environmental parameters. Parameters have been given Importance Weights based on the usage of the rank wise comparison techniques. The predicted values of each parameter are converted to a 0-1 scale of environmental quality using value function graphs. Battele value graphs are being prepared by taking linear relation between weight factors and concentration of various parameters.

An index is obtained in Environmental Impact Units (EIU) for each alternative and baseline environmental condition (i.e. EIU without and with project). The EIU with project has farther been evaluated for with and without EMP.

(EIU)j = (EQ)ij (PIU)I

where (EIU)j






Environment Impact Unit for j th alternative Environmental quality scale for i th factor and j th alternative Parameter Importance Units for i th factor.

The identified parameters have been distributed into four major categories, viz. Ecology, Environmental pollution, Aesthetics, and Human interest. A score of 1000 has been divided into each of these categories. The resultant numerical evaluation has been described.

Possible Impact on Marine Ecology

Fly Ash

The dumping of fly ash slurry into the sea resulted not only into filing up of an extensive portion of the bay but also into letting out of ash directly into the open sea. The ash, on being carried far into the sea caused irreversible extensive damage to the sedimentary biota, Algel beds. Chank, Corals, Pearl oysters, and to all the biota connected with Reefs.

Heavy Metal contamination

In the proposed power project, there is no usage of water and thereby generation of effluent is negligible. Hence, the potential source of metallic contamination from the effluents such as Cadmium, Lead, Zinc and Mercury is totally ruled out.

Oil Pollution

Normally, various activities responsible for oil pollution in the coastal environment are: oil exploration, oil refining, oil transport, oil spills etc. In the proposed power project, none of the activities are involved. The let-out water from compressor and waste oil generated are collected and sold out to authorized dealers. Hence, the chance of oil pollution in the coastal region is eliminated.

Pesticide Pollution

There is no possibility of generation of effluents containing pesticides from the operation of proposed project.

Microbiological Pollution Sewage containing human excreta is the major source of pathogenic bacteria. The state of the coastal waters is judged based on the number of E.coli present in it. In addition to it, discharge of untreated domestic sewage, industrial wastes to the coastal waters are the factors responsible for the microbiological pollution of coastal waters. At present, the domestic effluents generated is around 21.5 MLD only and the effluent will be suitably

treated to meet the standard prescribed by the statutory authorities before it is used for gardening within the industrial complex.

Environmental Pollution

The proposed project runs in eco-friendly manner by using Natural gas as a fuel and it will not generate any trade effluent. The wastewater generated will come from the domestic usage, evaporative cooler, WHRB etc. However, such effluents will be treated to meet the standard.

The effect on ambient air quality will be minimum. Natural gas will not contribute to the suspended particulates. A marginal increase in the gaseous pollutants such as SO 2 and NO x , is expected. The proposed project does not have any impact over the land use and on the buffer zone.

The proposed project does not have any impact on the soil chemistry, soil erosion, and soil

fertility. Noise pollution due to the movement of vehicles during construction activities is expected. However, the following measures will minimize the noise level:

ß Maintenance of vehicle, plying in the project area,

ß Development of thick canopy of plantation around project premises,

ß Installment of modern generator with less noise.


The proposed power plant will not change any topographic feature. The proposed greenbelt development around the site will enhance the diversity of vegetation. Noise level will be marginally increased due to increased activity. The anticipated composite effect due to the proposed power plant has a majority of overall positive impacts from aesthetic point.

Human Interest

There will be a number of job opportunities available to the local people during the constructional stage and after commissioning qualified person belonging to this region will be given priority.

Summary of the environmental impacts



Constructional Phase


Operational Phase


impact areas

















Air Quality








SO 2


















Water Environment


























On site






Off site



















Socio-economic Environment


Social fabric









































8.0 Environmental Management Plan

An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) has been proposed by the project proponent. The (EMP) provides a conceptual framework to reduce or mitigate predicted environmental impacts of the project. Following are the proposed measures for improving the overall environmental management of the site.

ß Mitigation of the adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts

ß Recommendations of approaches that can integrate environmental concerns in design, operation and development of necessary physical infrastructures.

ß Monitoring plan for significant environmental

9.0 Environmental Monitoring

A regular environmental monitoring program has been proposed to monitor environmental parameters. This monitoring includes meteorological data collection, monitoring of air quality; noise-level monitoring, water-quality monitoring and soil testing to monitor land environment. The EIA reports provide a detail of the monitoring of:

ß Meteorological state and Air Quality

ß Noise Levels

ß Water Quality

ß Land Quality

ß Monitoring Schedule and Parameters

10. Organization Setup

An environmental management cell has been proposed to implement environmental monitoring and management plan. An environmental engineer will head all this under the guidance of the plant manager. He will have support staff in carrying out his functions

11.0 Lessons Learned

1. Number of issues require higher degree of competence at functional and organizational level, for example, the project is close to marine biosphere reserve requiring specialized studies to assess nature of impact. Therefore, the environmental monitoring becomes highly specialized and stringent.

2. Need for institutionalization of environmental issues into organization structure for effective implementation. The specific environmental monitoring requires specialized skill of monitoring team.

3. Need for better infrastructures to address environmental monitoring.

4. Need for post-project, monitoring and reporting of environmental attributes.


State government has provided the environmental clearance to the project proposal and the project will be implemented shortly.

12.0 Bibliography

ß Environment Protection Act, 1986, Government of India

ß Minimum National Standards (Minas), Government of India

ß Noise Pollution (Control and Regulations) Rules, 1999, Government of India

ß The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Government of India

ß The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, As Amended In 1987to 99, Government of India

ß The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 1994, Government of India

ß The Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, Government of India

ß The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (MSIHC), 1989 (As Amended In October 1994 and January 2000), Government of India

ß Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, Government of India

ß The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995, Government of India

ß Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness & Response) Rules, 1996, Government of India

ß The Factories Act, 1948, As Amendment in 1976 And 1987, Government of India

ß The Petroleum Act, 1934, Government of India

ß The Motor Vehicles Act As Amended In 1988, Government of India

ß Gas Cylinder Rules, 1981, Government of India

ß EIA Notification, 1994 Issued Under Ep Act, 1981, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.

Contact Details

Name: Mr. Amit Jain Organisation: I RG Systems South Asia Pvt. Ltd. (IRGSSA) Position: Director Contact Address: C-57, First Floor, Shiwalik, New Delhi – 110017, India Phone: 91-11-26685313/5314/9457 Fax: 91-11-26689996 Email: amit@irgindia.com DATE OF PREPERATION OF CASE STUDY: 9 TH DECEMBER, 2003