Useful Notes on the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974

The Water Act was enacted by Parliament Act, 1974 purpose to provide for the prevention of control of water pollution and the maintaining or restoring of wholesomeness of water. The Act was amended in the years 1978 and 1988.

These are total 8 chapters and 64 Sections. Water pollution is defined as ‘such contamination of water, or such alteration of physical, chemical or biological properties of water, or such discharge as is likely to cause a nuisance or render the water harmful or injurious to public health and safety or harmful for any other use or to aquatic plants and other organism or animal life’. As one day, it is applicable in all the states of India. The relevant provisions of this and are given as below:

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Under Section 16: Functions of Central Board:

1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the main function of the Central Board shall be to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States.

2. In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing function, the Central Board may perform all or any of the following functions, namely.

(a) Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the prevention and control of water pollution;

(b) Coordinate the activities of the State Boards and resolve disputes among them;

(c) Provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards, carry out and sponsor investigations and research relating to problems of water pollution and prevention, control or abatement of water pollution;

(d) Plan and organise the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programs for the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution on such terms and conditions as the Central Board may specify;

(e) Organise through mass media a comprehensive programme regarding the prevention and control of water pollution;

(f) Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water pollution and the measures devised for its effective prevention and control and prepare manuals, codes or guides relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents and disseminate information connected therewith;

(g) Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the State Government concerned, the standards for a stream or well: Provided that different standards may be laid down for the same stream or well or for different streams or wells, having regard to the quality of water, flow characteristics of the stream or well and the nature of the use of the water in such stream or well or streams or wells;

(h) Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution;

(i) Perform such other functions as may be prescribed.

3. The Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the Board to perform its functions under this section efficiently, including the analysis of samples of water from any stream or well or of samples of any sewage or trade effluents.

Under Section 17: Functions of State Board:

1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the functions of a State Board shall be:

(a) To plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of pollution of streams and wells in the State and to secure the execution thereof;

(b) To advise the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of water pollution;

(c) To collect and disseminate information relating to water pollution and the prevention, control or abatement thereof;

(d) To encourage, conduct and participate in investigations and research relating to problems of water pollution and prevention, control or abatement of water pollution;

(e) To collaborate with the Central Board in organising the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes relating to prevention, control or abatement of water pollution and to organise mass education programmes relating thereto;

(f) To inspect sewage or trade effluents, works and plants for the treatment or sewage and trade effluents and to review plans, specifications or other data relating to plants set up for the treatment of water, works for the purification thereof and the system for the disposal of sewage or trade effluents or in connection with the grant of any consent as required by this Act;

(g) Tay down, modify or annul effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents and for the quality of receiving waters (not being water in an inter-State stream) resulting from the discharge of effluents and to classify waters of the State;

(h) To evolve economical and reliable methods of treatment of sewage and trade effluents, having regard to the peculiar conditions of soils, climate and water resources of different regions and more specially the prevailing flow characteristics of water in streams and wells which render it impossible to attain even the minimum degree of dilution;

(i) To evolve methods of utilisation of sewage and suitable trade effluents in agriculture;

(j) To evolve efficient methods of disposal of sewage and trade effluents on land, as are necessary on account of the pre-dominant conditions of scant stream flows that do not provide for major part of the year the minimum degree of dilution;

(k) To lay down standards of treatment of sewage and trade effluents to be discharged into any particular stream taking into account the minimum fair weather dilution available in that stream and the tolerance limits of pollution permissible in the water of the stream, after the discharge of such effluents;

(l) To make, vary or revoke any order —

(i) For the prevention, control or abatement of discharge of waste into streams or wells;

(ii) Requiring any person concerned to construct new systems for the disposal of sewage and trade effluents or to modify, alter or extend any such existing system or to adopt such remedial measures as are necessary to prevent control or abate water pollution;

(m) To lay down effluent standards to be complied with by persons while causing discharge of sewage or sullage or both and to lay down, modify or annul effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents;

(n) To advice the State Government with respect to the location of any industry the carrying on of which is likely to pollute a stream or well;

(o) To perform such other functions as may be prescribed or as may, from time-to-time be entrusted to it by the Central Board or the State Government.

2. The Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the Board to perform its functions under this section efficiently, including the analysis of samples of water from any stream or well or of samples of any sewage or trade effluents.

Under Section 18: Powers to Give Directions:

In the performance of its functions under this Act:

(a) The Central Board shall be bound by such directions in writing the Central Government may give to it; and

(b) Every State Board shall be bound by such directions in writing as the Central Government or the State Government may give to it:

Under Section 19:

The entire National Capital Territory of Delhi has been declared as water pollution prevention control area.

Under Section 21:

Officials of DPCC can take samples of the water effluent from any industry stream or well or sewage sample for the purpose of analysis.

Under Section 23:

Officials of the state boards can enter any premises for the purpose of examining any plant, record, register etc. or any of the functions of the Board entrusted to him.

Under Section 24:

No person shall discharge any poisonous, noxious or any polluting matter into any stream, or well or sewer or on land.

Under Section 25:

No person shall without the previous consent to establish shall.

(a) Establish or take any step to establish any industry, operation or process or any treatment and disposal system for any extension or addition thereto, which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into a stream or well or sewer or on land or

(b) Bring into use any new or altered outlet for the discharge of sewage or

(c) Begin to make any new discharge of sewage.

Under this Section the state board may grant consent to the industry after satisfying itself on pollution control measures taken by the unit or refuse such consent for reasons to be recorded in writing.

Under Section 27:

A state board may from time-to-time review any condition imposed by it on the person under Sections 25 and 26 and may vary or revoke that condition.

Under Section 28:

Any person aggrieved by the order made by the State Board under Sections 25, 26 or Section 27 may within thirty days from the date on which the order is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to such authority (referred to as the appellate authority) as the State Govt, may think fit to constitute (in case of NCT of Delhi Appellate authority under this Section is Financial Commissioner, Delhi Administration).

Under Section 33:

The State Board can direct any person who is likely to cause or has cause the pollution of water in street or well to desist from taking such action as is likely to cause its pollution or to remove such matters as specified by the Board through court.

Under Section 33A:

DPCC can issue any directions to any person, officer or authority, and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions. The direction includes the power to direct:

(i) The closure, prohibition of any industry.

(ii) Stoppage or regulations of supply of electricity, water or any other services.

Under Section 43:

Whoever contravenes the provisions of Section 24 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years with fine.

Under Section 45:

If any who has been convicted of any offence under Section 24, or Section 25 or Section 26 is again found guilty of an offence involving a contravention of the same provison shall be on the second and on every subsequent conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not less than two years but which may extend to seven years with fine.

Under Section 45 A:

Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this act or fails to comply with any order or direction given under this act, for which no penalty has been elsewhere provided in this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

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