Samples tested after hostellers complained of diarrhoea

‘E-coli’ bacteria, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, has been found in the water supplied to Government Polytechnic College for Women’s hostel here. This was most likely due to lack of periodical cleaning and chlorination of the water tanks.

The Public Health Department took samples for testing after 44 hostellers complained of uneasiness, diarrhoea and vomiting on June 16 with 23 of them requiring hospitalisation.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Thursday that the Public Health Department had submitted a technical report to the Coimbatore Corporation which supplied water to the hostel.

This is the second time in recent years such an incident was occurring in the same college. Around 50 students were hospitalised in September 2012 after some fainted and others complained of excessive vomiting and nausea.The tests had confirmed the presence of e-coli bacteria then, sources said.

E. coli bacteria come from human and animal faecal matter. Sewage water must have mixed with the drinking water, probably due to a pipeline rupture underground, leading to the contamination, a health official said.

While the Corporation would have undertaken a primary chlorination before supplying the water, the hostel was expected to carry out the chlorination frequently.

The Health department officials chlorinated the hostel water tank, which had a capacity of around 50,000 litres, after the incident.

They also issued directions to the Public Works Department, which maintained the hostel water storage tank, to undertake periodical cleaning.

The tests were conducted at the Government Food Analysis Laboratory in Coimbatore, one of the six districts to have a laboratory accredited under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The other districts are Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli and Madurai.

Following this, District Collector Archana Patnaik had issued a directive to all college hostels in Coimbatore directing them to implement a set of safety and hygiene measures to prevent the recurrence of such incident.

More In: Coimbatore