The government issues a draft notification on the use of the RO system ban where tap water meets BIS standards

NEW DELHI: Acting under the order of the National Green Court (NGT) requesting the Center to prohibit the use of reverse osmosis purifiers (RO) where (TDS) in the water are below 500 milligrams per liter, the Ministry Environment issued a draft notification on Monday seeking users' views before banning RO purifiers in areas that receive drinking water.

However, the ministry draft did not mention the TDS limit and preferred to go for the acceptable limit for drinking water prescribed by the Office of Indian Standards (BIS), which is aligned with international specifications. He also said that the RO purification system water for domestic use would be used only for drinking.

Once the rules are finalized, RO machine manufacturers will have to adjust their designs to meet the new parameters so that the system does not discharge water beyond the prescribed limit during the purification process.

With regard to monitoring and implementation, the draft allowed the BIS to develop a system to monitor, evaluate and certify in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within six months of the final notification.

The application will be largely the responsibility of the CPCB and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB), taking on board the water supply agencies to certify whether they provide drinking water in a particular area according to the prescribed BIS standard.

Through this draft, the ministry requested public comments that could be sent to the joint secretary Jigmet Takpa within 30 days. A final notification on the prohibition of RO purifiers and the parameters on the design of such machines will be issued after examining the opinions of all interested parties, including manufacturers.

The draft also listed what to do and what not to do for manufacturers and importers, taking into account water conservation regulations in the country. The draft said that any violation would be notified to the SPCB or the CPCB or the environment ministry. The CPCB will be the nodal agency for the implementation of these rules, he added.

In addition to the water drinkability, the draft also analyzed the efficiency of water use of RO systems and regulations regarding the elements discarded in the treatment system where the polymer-based membrane is used and discarded at the end of its useful life.

He said the discarded items will not be removed in any way other than the applicable provisions of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The NGT requested in May last year the ministry to establish a requirement for the manufacturers of RO systems so that the recovery of treated water is at least 60%. His order had come in a petition filed by the NGO Friends based in Delhi, which had claimed that the indiscriminate use of RO systems was causing a great waste of water.