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Shambhavi Suyesha
| Updated: 16 May, 2022 | Category: Pollution Control Board

How to apply for consent to operate?

apply for consent to operate

The consent to operate is a type of consent that industry or unit requires to obtain from the appropriate Government for the mandatory pollution control system. Under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, any industry, unit, operation or process which is likely to discharge sewerage or trade effluent in the environment or is likely to emit any air pollution in the atmosphere must obtain consent. Such operations or units which apply for consent to operate are involved in Hazardous Waste Management, E-waste Management, Plastic Waste Management and Bio-medical Waste Management. 

Consent to Operate

Every new unit, after its establishment and installation of projects, requires to apply for consent to operate under Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 1981 before starting any operation or production. Once an industry is set up along with the required pollution control system, then it requires to obtain consent to operate its unit and the State Pollution Control Board grants such consent for a given period of time. Thus, the consent to operate requires regular renewal. 

Depending on the hazard potential of their activities, the industries are categorized. The said categorization is Red, Orange, Green, White, and Exempted. Considering the compliance with Environmental laws by these industries, the State Pollution Control Board grants consent to operate in such industries. 

 The said Board grants the consent to operate for a limited period of time, and so the industries need to apply for consent to operate renewal. The application for renewal should be made prior to the expiry of said consent to operate. 

Consent to Operate under Air Act

According to the Air Act[1], every person should apply for consent to operate before establishing and operating any industry in an air pollution control area. The prior consent is obtained from the State Pollution Control Board. If an industry was operating in air pollution control areas before the commencement of amendment of the Air Act and for which no consent was required before such amendment can continue to do so for a period of three months from the commencement of amendment and if it has applied for the consent to operate then till the disposal of such application. 

The industries must apply for consent to operate with the prescribed fee and also with the details of the industry. If any industry starts to operate immediately before the declaration of its area as an air pollution control area, then it shall apply for consent to operate within the prescribed time period. Once the industry makes the application, it is deemed to have Consented to operate by the State Pollution Control Board unless its application is refused by the Board. When Industries apply for consent to operate, then the State Pollution Control Board makes an inquiry to ensure that the industry is fit for the consent. 

The State Pollution Control Board, within four months of receipt of the application for consent, grants consent to operate by order in writing. The consent to operate is granted for a fixed period of time. The State Board may also refuse to grant the consent by order in writing. The State Pollution Board has the power to cancel the consent within the prescribed period of time granted by it, i.e., it may cancel the consent before the expiry of such consent to operate if the conditions specified in the consent are not fullfed. The State Board, before refusing or cancelling the consent, gives an appropriate opportunity to the concerned person or entity to be heard. 

The conditions to be followed by the person or industry to whom such consent to operate has been granted by the State Pollution Control Board are:

  • Only those control equipment are installed or operated in the industry, which is approved by the State Pollution Control Board.
  • The already installed or operated control equipment is altered or replaced as per the directions of the State Pollution Control Board.
  • The control equipment must be in good running condition.
  • All other necessary equipment is erected or re-erected as per the approval by the State Pollution Control Board. 
  • These above-mentioned conditions or any specified conditions comply within the time period as specified by the State Pollution Control Board. 

The State Pollution Control Board, due to any technological improvement or otherwise, is of the opinion that any of the above-mentioned conditions requires variation; then, after giving the opportunity to be heard, it varies such condition or conditions, and the industry is then bound to comply with such variation.

If any person who obtained consent to operate transfers his interest in the industry to any other person, then it shall be deemed as the consent has been originally granted to such other person.

Consent to Operate under Water Act

Under the Water Act, without the previous consent to operate from the State Control Board, no person shall take any step towards the operation or process which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into stream or well or sewer or on land; or bring into use any outlet for discharge of sewage; or begin to make new discharge of sewage. If a person who is already in the process of taking any steps towards such operation or process immediately before the commencement of Amendment in Water Act for which no consent was required before such amendment has started to apply for consent to operate, then he can continue the operation till the disposal of such application. 

The application made for the consent to operate before the State Pollution Control Board must be accompanied by the required particulars and the fee. The State Pollution Control Board makes an inquiry to ensure the fitness of such an industry. 

These are certain conditions required by the State Pollution Control Board for granting the consent to operate:

  • Conditions to the point of discharge of sewage or to use of any outlet for the discharge of sewage.
  • In case of a new discharge, the conditions regarding the nature, temperature, composition, volume or rate of discharge of effluent from the premises of the industry from which the discharge is to be made.
  • The consent to operate is valid for a fixed time period as specified by the State Pollution Control Board in its order. 
  • Any conditions imposed by the State Pollution Control Board shall be binding on the person to whom the consent to operate has been granted. 
  • If the State Pollution Control Board refuses the application for consent to operate, then it notifies such refusal in writing. 

If any industry is operating without taking such consent to operate, then the State Pollution Control Board serves notice to such industry imposing such conditions which are needed to be imposed.

Every State Pollution Control Board maintains a register of all the particulars of the conditions imposed, and the register can be opened for inspection at any reasonable hour by any interested person and the conditions mentioned in the register shall be conclusive proof that the consent has been granted complying to such conditions. 

Procedure to apply for Consent to Operate

The procedure to apply for consent to operate is as follows:

  • Filing of Application

The applicant files an application to the respective State Pollution Control Board with all the required information or particulars and the requisite fee. 

  • Inspection of the Unit

Once the applicant submits the application, the State Pollution Control Board goes for an inspection of the unit or industry to make sure that it is fir for the consent to operate.

  • Scrutinization and recommendation

A Supervising Officer, Scientific Officer, or Environmental Officer scrutinizes the application and makes its recommendation based on it. 

  • Grant of consent to operate 

Based on the recommendations of the Supervising or scientific officer, the Consent to Operate is granted to the applicant by the State Pollution Control Board.

Documents required for application of Consent to Operate

To apply for consent to operate, the applicant requires the following documents:

  • Detailed layout plant of all processes and point source of effluent or sewage discharge or emission 
  • Process flow sheet
  • Latest analysis report on solid waste, effluent, hazardous waste and fuel gases
  • Details of water pollution control instruments
  • Details of Air pollution control instruments
  • Air quality report
  • Water budget calculations 
  • Details of chemical reactions with mass equilibrium

Renewal of application of consent to operate

The holder of consent has to apply for consent to operate renewal 120 days prior to the expiry of such consent. The prescribed fee is to submit before the State Pollution Control Board. The documents for renewal of Consent to Operate are similar to the consent to operate. However, the applicant also provides the photocopy of previous consent to the State Pollution Control Board. 

Conclusion

All the operating units and the units starting operations after their establishment require consent to operate from the State Pollution Control Board. To apply for consent to operate, one has to make an application to their respective State Pollution Control Board with all the required particulars and the fee. The consent to operate is granted under the Water and Air Act. Such consent is granted for a fixed period of time and so requires renewal on a regular basis. 

Read our Article:Consent to Establish Vs Consent To Operate: Key Differences

Shambhavi Suyesha

Shambhavi holds a strong legal background, having completed her BA LLB and LLM. She is particularly interested in legal research and writing, and wishes to utilise her knowledge to create informative legal content. She is an analytical researcher and keeps herself updated about the current legal affairs. She also holds prior experience in publishing articles on assorted legal areas.

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