An environmental conflict in the Tiruppur region is due to the enormous growth of the garment industry and operation of bleaching and dyeing units in the past 60 years. In 1941 there were only two such units; by 1997 there were 866, consuming about 90 million litres a day of water and releasing about 87 million litres a day of effluents into the Noyyal River. It is a seasonal river that passes through Coimbatore, Erode and Karur in Tamil Nadu state during October and December and has return flows from the Lower Bhavani Project. The Orathapalayam Dam project crosses the Noyyal near the Orathapalayam village. In 1995, four years after the dam was completed, downstream farmers objected to the release of water, which had become highly contaminated from the dyeing and bleaching units, and filed a case in the Chennai High Court the following year. In 1997 the fisheries department closed its operations at the reservoir and the High Court ordered dam water not be released for irrigation.  Now the Orathapalayam Dam has become a mere storage tank for industrial effluent, which could neither be discharged into the river, nor be stored due to percolation and contamination of groundwater aquifers. Industrial pollution in Tiruppur has significantly affected the Noyyal River, totally contaminated the Orathapalayam Dam, contaminated the Chauvery River, caused great economic loss for farmers and affected residents' health.  The High Court mandated polluting units connect to a common effluent treatment plant or install individual effluent treatment plants. More than 160 units were shut down, but observers say treated effluents do not meet standards prescribed by the Pollution Control Board, particularly regarding total dissolved solids and chlorides. According to state Pollution Control Board rules, 'red' and 'orange' category units (highest polluting industries, which include dyeing and bleaching) should be situated 1km from a river/ stream or any other water source. In Tiruppur, as at 2007, about 239 units were located less than 300m from the Noyyal River. About 83 per cent of the individual effluent treatment plants discharge their effluents directly or indirectly into the water bodies.  About half of villagers who participated in a University of Madras study said air pollution was common in their areas due to effluent. Every single respondent experienced water pollution, while 90.55 per cent said land pollution was evident. More than half of people reported experiencing health problems such as diarrhoea and cholera, while more than 75 per cent said they suffered skin diseases.