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Updated: June 1, 2010 10:20 IST

Residents complain of water contamination

Special Correspondent
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SOURCE OF CONCERN:A drinking water line passes along one of the soak pits at Super Garden Avenue at Vadavalli near the city. The residents complain that waste water from the soak pits dug outside the compound of houses enter water lines through leak spots. Photo:S.Siva Saravanan
THE HINDU SOURCE OF CONCERN:A drinking water line passes along one of the soak pits at Super Garden Avenue at Vadavalli near the city. The residents complain that waste water from the soak pits dug outside the compound of houses enter water lines through leak spots. Photo:S.Siva Saravanan

Residents of Super Garden Avenue under Vadavalli Town Panchayat near the city are an anguished lot. With the summer already impacting the drinking water situation, contamination within the residential colony has compounded their agony.

“We are certain that waste water from soak pits dug outside the compound of houses is getting into the drinking water lines,” president of Vadavalli Super Garden Residents' Welfare Association A.G. Manickam said on Sunday. On Monday, the residents' worst fears came true when the town panchayat workers spotted one of the contamination spots – a soak pit.

“We have been going through an agonising phase for two months. On a supply day, we get water only for 30 minutes. But, the first five minutes provide only stinking water. That makes us suspect the quality of what we get for the next 25 minutes,” he explained.

“Sometimes, water supply is made anytime between 3.45 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. How can we check the quality then? The contaminated water lies collected in the sump,” he said.

After a series of complaints, the local body responded with efforts on Monday to detect the leak spots. The workers found that a huge soak pit was discharging waste water into a drinking water line through a leak in it.

“When the pumping of drinking water stops, the waste water gets sucked into the vacuum in the pipeline,” Mr. Manickam explained. “When the drinking water supply is made, the waste water that entered the line hits our buckets and sumps first,” he said. For the last two months, only random digging of some spots had been done and this had not helped in detecting the problem area.

“We suggested that a sector by sector check of the nearly one km line should be done. But, that was not done,” he lamented. The discovery of a contamination spot on Monday took the residential colony a step towards locating the problem areas. “We believe that this may be one of the contamination spots. The town panchayat is now trying to solve the problem,” Mr. Manickam said.

On leaks in the water line, Mr. Manickam said the pipes and its laying were funded by the residents.

As many as 100 houses contributed Rs.2,500 each for the water line and paid Rs.3,000 each as connection deposit to the town panchayat in 1997. Over the years, the pipes might have sprung leaks.

But, digging soak pits outside the house and near water lines should not be allowed, he said.

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