Yamuna’s ammonia levels
The impact of increasing pollution in the Yamuna is being noted in frequent disruption to Delhi’s water supply.
- The most recent spike was noted on Monday and Tuesday, when ammonia levels shot up to 7.3 parts per million (ppm) at the Wazirabad pond area - where Delhi Jal Board draws water from - against its acceptable limit of 0.5 ppm.
Affects of Ammonia levels increase:
- Ammonia is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, dyes and other products.
- It also occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, including sewage.
- When its concentration rises beyond the treatment capacity of 0.9 ppm, water production at three out of 9 water treatment plants- Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla - must be stopped or reduced, which impacts supply to parts of the city.
- The issue is a long-standing one between Haryana and Delhi. It is brought into focus every time the concentration of ammonia increases in the river.
- The Yamuna flows into Delhi from Haryana and the state has industrial units in Sonipat, which is close to Delhi’s northern border.
- A specific area where both Haryana and Delhi agree on is the mixing of two drains carrying drinking water and sewage or industrial waste or both in Sonipat district.
- Drain number 8 brings potable water to the capital and drain number 6 carries wastewater.
- The two drains often mix due to overflow or damage to the wall that separates them.
- Officials in Haryana and within the DJB state that the Board should increase its capacity to treat ammonia levels in the water.
- The ozone-based units to treat ammonia levels up to 4ppm should be installed at Chandrawal and Wazirabad water treatment plants.
- The need to revive the Yamuna by releasing more fresh water into it, which would help maintain a certain environmental flow for the river to sustain its functions throughout the year.