Establishing Permits to Curb Industrial Effluent Discharge in the Environment

Quatre Borne, Mauritius –  The development of guidelines for industrial effluent discharge permit was the focus of a two-day stakeholders’ consultation workshop which was held at Palms Hotel in Quatre Bornes. Some 40 participants from different ministries, relevant parastatal organisations and industrial enterprises  gathered to discuss a national strategy for the industrial effluent control and environment protection.

Discharge Permits WorkshopThe initiative was organised by the ministry of Public of Energy and Public Utilities of Mauritius under the framework of the regional “Integrated Water Resource Management in Atlantic and Indian Ocean Small Island Developing States” Project financed by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations development Programme, in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services. Mauritius is one of the six beneficiary countries of this regional project that aims to contribute to the sustainable development of six islands through improvements in natural resource and environmental management.

The discussions evolved around key themes such as: The current situation of the industrial wastewater discharges in Mauritius; Guidelines towards an integrated approach on industrial wastewater management; and review of the industrial effluents critical parameters. The resource persons at the workshop are Dr Maria Coelho, Water Quality Expert; Mr Jaime Melo Baptista, Expert on Water and Wastewater; and Ms Eugenia Ramos, Laboratory Manager.

In his opening address, the Director of Technical Services from the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Dr P.M.K Soonarane, recalled that the issue of effluent discharge permits is in line with Government’s policy and strategy for the sustainable development of the water sector in Mauritius.

Investments to the tune of more than Rs 17 billion has been planned for the sector till 2021 and implementation is in full swing, he said.

Dr Soonarane stated that such an investment level is programmed to address the whole value chain of water supply in the country, from raw water mobilisation, water treatment, water distribution, improved service delivery to consumers and the protection of surface and underground resources to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

Speaking about the development of industrial effluent development permit, Dr Soonarane underlined that the new system needs to have the following attributes: simplicity in the grant of the permit and monitoring of compliance; realistic standards of different parameters of effluents; need for a right balance between economic development and protection of water resources; and optimisation of financial and human resources.

In the context of this project, the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities has benefitted from consultancy services of a water quality experts to review the current situation and provide legal and technical guidelines and recommendations for effluent discharge permits. The study which started in May 2017 will be completed in October 2017.

The specific objectives of the consultancy are to categorise industrial effluents, based on the industrial activity, and propose set of parameters that would be applicable to each category taking into account the receiving environment, propose a new legal approach for regulation of industrial discharge permits taking into account the regime of discharge and the receiving environment; set orientations and policies for the management of industrial effluents (both discharged directly into the environment and in sewers systems) among local/ government/regulation authorities and recommend an approach and guidelines for selection of good practice of effluent treatment for each category of main industries to facilitate compliance with new framework.

For more information contact:

Geraldine Deblon, Communication Officer for the  IWRM AIO SIDS Project at: GeraldineD@unops.org