The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, defines water pollution, as the direct or indirect discharge of sewage, industrial effluents or any liquid, gaseous or solid substance into water which alters the physical, chemical or biological properties of water to make it harmful or injurious to public health and health of animals or of aquatic organisms’.
This Act lead to the creation of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs). CPCB primarily promotes cleanliness of streams and wells in the different states of India.
The other functions of the board are;
- To lay down the standards for a stream or well, and in consultation with the State Government concerned modify or annul those standards.
- Plan and cause to the executed a nationwide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of water pollution;
- Preparation of manuals, codes or guides related to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents. Also, collection, compilation and publication of technical and statistical data related to water pollution and the measures devised for its effective prevention and control.
- Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the prevention and control of water pollution;
- Providing technical assistance and guidance to the SPCBs and coordinating their activities
- Control and abatement of water pollution through investigation and research related to problems related to water pollution.
- The functions of State Pollution Control Boards are similar to those of Central Pollution Control Board but they are to be executed at state level, and these are governed by the directions of CPCB.
- The board advises the state govt. the location of any industry that might pollute a stream or a well.
- The board is authorized to take samples from industrial streams, well or trade effluent or sewage and it lays down standards for effluents.
- The board is licensed to take legal samples of trade effluents in accordance with the prescriptions in the act. In the presence of the occupier or his agent, the collected sample is divided into two parts, sealed, signed by both parties, then it is sent for analysis to some recognized lab. If the samples cross maximum permissible limits, then consent is refused to the unit.
- Industries has to apply for consent from the board in a prescribed format, providing all technical details, along with a prescribed fee. After application analysis of the effluent is carried out and consent is provided for a fixed duration.
- The board suggests efficient methods for utilization, treatment and disposal of trade effluents.