Monday, 19 March 2012

Effluent Standard: Discharge Limits for Industrial Effluent based on Environmental Quality (Industrial Effluent) Regulations, 2009 (Malaysia)

The reason for this publication is for easy referencing by all interested parties as the law book in not always handy! If you need to view the bulk of this law, kindly link to: or simply click on the above page titled 'IETS & Law'. Cheerio!

Picture: A sketch representing a hydro-geological setting of a segment of the urbanized earth crust! 
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(Note: The interpretations provided are based on the author’s professional experience in practice and may not represent those of the authorities, thus the author shall not be deemed liable for any misjudgement thereof.) 

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Application of this law
Regulation-3. These Regulations shall apply to any premises which discharge or release industrial effluent or mixed effluent, onto or into any soil, or into inland waters or Malaysian waters, other than the premises as specified in the First Schedule*.
Picture: A wet-scrubber, as an air pollution control equipment also generate effluent when its recycled scrubbing liquid agent reached saturation. So, apparently it solves the air impurity issues but generate waste-water or legally known as the Industrial Effluent.

Interpretation in brief:
This regulation applies only to industrial and services sectors’ wastewater discharges that conduct or perform activities regarded by the law as processing, manufacturing, washing or servicing that produces effluent in the following quantity and quality;
Ø not exceeding 60m3/day;
Ø free from Hg, Cd, Cr6+, As, Cn, Pb, Cr3+, Cu, Mn, Ni, Sn;
Ø BOD at 20oC for 5 days or Suspended Solids or both not exceeding 6kg/day loading;
Picture: Aeration Pond as commonly found in Malaysian Palm Oil Mills' effluent treatment scheme. Vast land is required to accommodate all the ponds. In future these land area may be worth more than the business. However these waste are biodegradable and that the mill itself is self-sufficing its electrical energy!

*This regulation does not apply to the following premises (as an interpretation for “other than the premises as specified in the First Schedule” in the regulation above);
Ø Processing of Oil-palm Fruit/Fresh Fruit Bunches to palm oil; i.e. Palm Oil Mills.
Ø Processing of Natural Rubber to specified applied forms; i.e. Rubber Mills like SMRs and Latex factories;
Ø Mining activities; i.e. mining for coal, tin, sand, gold etc.

Regulation-11 stipulates permissible limits for effluent discharges from industrial and services premises as follows;
[Paragraph 11(1)(a)]

PARAMETERS                                                                                 A                  B

(i( Temperature oC                                                                      40                   40
(ii) pH Value –                                                                              6.0-9.0            5.5-9.0
(iii) BOD5 at 20oC mg/L                                                              20                   50
(iv) Suspended Solids mg/L                                                         50                   100
(v) Mercury mg/L                                                                         0.005              0.05
(vi) Cadmium mg/L                                                                    0.01                0.02
(vii) Chromium, Hexavalent mg/L                                              0.05                0.05
(viii) Chromium, Trivalent mg/L                                                  0.20                1.0
(ix) Arsenic mg/L                                                                          0.05                0.10
(x) Cyanide mg/L                                                                        0.05                0.10
(xi) Lead mg/L                                                                             0.10                0.5
(xii) Copper mg/L                                                                        0.20                1.0
(xiii) Manganese mg/L                                                                 0.20                1.0
(xiv) Nickel mg/L                                                                          0.20                1.0
(xv) Tin mg/L                                                                                0.20                1.0
(xvi) Zinc mg/L                                                                             2.0                  2.0
(xvii) Boron mg/L                                                                         1.0                  4.0
(xviii) Iron (Fe) mg/L                                                                     1.0                  5.0
(xix) Silver mg/L                                                                            0.1                  1.0
(xx) Aluminium mg/L                                                                   10                   15
(xxi) Selenium mg/L                                                                      0.02                0.5
(xxii) Barium mg/L                                                                        1.0                  2.0
(xxiii) Fluoride mg/L                                                                     2.0                  5.0
(xxiv) Formaldehyde mg/L                                                          1.0                  2.0
(xxv) Phenol mg/L                                                                       0.001              1.0
(xxvi) Free Chlorine mg/L                                                            1.0                  2.0
(xxvii) Sulphide mg/L                                                                   0.50                0.50
(xxviii) Oil and Grease mg/L                                                        1.0                  10
(xxix) Ammoniacal Nitrogen mg/L                                            10                     20
(xxx) Colour ADMI*                                                                   100                   200
*ADMI–American Dye Manufacturers Institute
Note: COD is regulated in another regulation with conditional application. Please see Regulation 12 below.
Interpretation in brief for Standard A and B:
This regulation imposes a double standard upon effluent releases depending on where they are being released along the receiving river;
v In general, Standard-A is applied if the point of discharge into the river is upstream from a water intake point for consumption or water catchment areas;
v In general, Standard-B is applied if the point of discharge into the river is downstream from a water intake point for consumption or water catchment areas;
Picture: Suspended Solids load. A common sight at upstream part of many rivers here. Ironically they are being taken up for treatment prior distribution as drinking water. Agricultural waste including leaching fertilizers, fugitive herbicides, pesticides etc. contributes to its pollution loads.

Regulation 12
Acceptable conditions for the discharge of industrial effluent for parameter of chemical oxygen demand (COD)
         The ‘Seventh Schedule’: COD limits for specific industrial types;
         The ‘Sixth Schedule’: location of catchment areas.
a)    Standard-A: into catchment areas listed in the ‘Sixth Schedule’; i.e. 80 mg/L for most industries.
b)    Standard-B: into other Inland Waters or Malaysian Waters; i.e. 200 mg/L for most industries.

Industrial Effluent Treatment Plant - An Example
The raw effluent (influent) that enters this system consists of metallic contaminants (inorganic) in a suspension of organic matters that are sparingly soluble in water. These metals are apparently insoluble at different pH, thus, rendering the use of different coagulation and flocculation agents. In addition, the organic load consists of biologically resistant matters that require aggressive aeration before it progressively degrades to smaller compounds for bacterial action. Operational cost in maintaining this system in ensuring compliance to regulatory requirements is significant. Ironically, the treated effluent discharge portrays a quality resembling local drinking water standards and much cleaner than the receiving monsoon drain water!

(Regulation 12)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Trade/Industry Unit Standard
                                                                                               A                   B
(a) Pulp and paper industry
(i) pulp mill mg/L                                                                    80                350
(ii) paper mill (recycled) mg/L                                                80                250
(iii) pulp and paper mill mg/L                                                80                300
(b) Textile industry mg/L                                                        80                250
(c)Fermentation and distillery industry mg/L                      400                400
(d) Other industries mg/L                                                       80                200

Picture: Decomposition by 'Mulching' is apparently a green practice where agricultural waste such as empty fruit bunches are left to decompose and helps fertilize soils. But over concentrating these agro-waste in a limited space poses another problem - entry of intermediate products from incomplete decomposition into the rivers. Thus, increases the river's organic load that eventually decreases it dissolved oxygen that affects its aquatic inhabitant. For this and many other reasons some local delicacies of wild  'Ikan Patin' species gets dearer! I love Ikan Patin Masak Lemak Cili Padi and Tempoyak. Welcome to Malaysia!
Interpretation in brief for COD:
In other words, industries that are not listed in the above Seventh Schedule shall subscribe to Standard A (not exceeding 80mg/L) if they are situated upstream of those sensitive environmental resource or Standard B (not exceeding 200mg/L) if they are located downstream from such environmental sensitive areas.
If you need to view the bulk of this law, kindly link to: 

Points to ponder

How the ISO14001's 'Input-Output' Analysis is helpful in identifying Environmental Aspects such Industrial Effluent Parameters as seen above?

The electroplating process generates an array of Scheduled Wastes.
Identification of environmental aspects which are Scheduled Waste
requires such comprehensive approach. Legal obligation and liability.
I worry about potential misinterpretation by those who don't have enough time to think what they read, of what is written in Guidance Clause A.6.1.2, paragraph 5 of the ISO14001:2015 which states .. An organization does not have to consider each product, component or raw material individually to determine and evaluate their environmental aspects; it may group or categorize activities, products and services when they have common characteristics." Regrouping some manufacturing activities or processes scheme into one category say 'Production' is indeed a good summary but may lead to the omission or 'overlooking' of important environmental aspects. This paragraph may be disconcerting to the prime objective of an EMS, unless, it's well comprehended just merely for certification.

Khalid Mohd Ariff, 20th March 2012, 27th Rabiul Akhir 1433.
Reach for the writer Khalid Mohd Ariff

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