• New petrol pumps to be at least 50 mtrs away rom schools, hospitals, houses: CPCB

    Concerned about the adverse impact of petrol pumps on the environment, the country’s apex pollution control body has directed oil marketing companies to ensure fuel stations are at least 50 metres away from schools, hospitals and residential areas. In a new set of guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board last week, in pursuance to the directions of the National Green Tribunal, the oil companies have been directed to also install vapour recovery systems (VRS) at new fuel stations which have a sale potential of 300 kilo litres motor spirit per month.

    “In case of failure of installation of VRS, environmental compensation will be levied by the state pollution control board (SPCB) equivalent to the cost of VRS and will further increase proportionate to the period of non-compliance,” it said.

    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 has framed the guidelines for setting up of new petrol pumps in the country.

    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 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.

    The authorities have also directed the oil companies that all multi-product dispensers at the petrol pumps shall have emergency stop button to stop the dispensation in case of any exigency.

    “Submersible turbine pumps (STPs) shall be installed with line leak detectors and in the event of pipeline leaks, STPs shall stop pumping fuel from underground tanks. All retail outlets to have overfill alarm through automation.

    “Any major leakage/spillage of petrol or diesel above one barrel (165 litres) shall be reported to the concerned state pollution control board and district administration under intimation to CPCB within 24 hours of occurrence,” it said.

    The CPCB said that if contamination of ground water and soil occurs due to leakage of fuel, the oil marketing company will be held liable for environmental compensation to be imposed by the SPCB.

    All underground tanks and pipelines shall be subjected to test for leaks every seven years, it said, adding that groundwater and soil quality monitoring within petrol pumps selling more than 300 KL/month and more than 10 lakh population shall be conducted by companies once in two years and report submitted to the SPCB.

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