What’s colourless, tasteless and odourless? Definitely not the water you get.
Investigations conducted at government laboratories have revealed increasing levels of contamination in well water, drinking water supplied through tanker lorries and packaged drinking water.
Tests at the Government Regional Analytical Laboratory at Kakkanad and the Food Quality Monitoring Laboratory under the Council for Food Research and Development in Konni between March 20 and April 5 have found that water quality in 15 wells (from which water was drawn for supply in apartments and commercial establishments in the city); 15 tanker lorries used for drinking water supply and 18 brands of packaged drinking water was ‘not satisfactory’.
Faecal coliform bacteria or E.coli was found in wells located in Churnikara panchayat, Eloor, Aluva and Kalamassery. Samples collected from a well near HMT at Toshiba junction found that the coliform count was 1,600 organisms/100 ml against the prescribed limit of 10 organisms per 100 ml. Excessive acid content was found in wells located in Mattakuzhi, Vaikom; Kuttikkattukara, Eloor and Aluva.
Quality of water supplied through tanker lorries plying across the city was also not satisfactory. Most of the samples showed high acid content. Residual chlorine was above the prescribed limit of 0.3 ppm (parts per million). Iron content was also high in most of the samples tested at the Government Regional Analytical Laboratory at Kakkanad. Coliform count was 1,600 organisms/100 ml against the upper limit of 10 organisms per 100 ml in a water sample.
Sixteen brands of packaged drinking water in Ernakulam were found contaminated with E.coli and coliform bacteria. Tests conducted at the Food Quality Monitoring Laboratory under the Council for Food Research and Development in Konni found that coliform count and E. coli were less than 2 organisms/100 ml against the rule that coliform bacteria or E. coli should not be present in packaged drinking water. Excessive acid content was found in another packaged drinking water sample.
Reacting to the increasing incidents of contamination of drinking water, Food Safety Commissioner Biju Prabhakar said stringent action would be taken against tanker lorry operators found supplying contaminated water to the public. He said the drive would be extended across all districts in the coming days.
However, Mr. Prabhakar pointed out that action against the packaged drinking water companies will be initiated only after collecting ‘formal samples’. “Only a marginal presence of coliform bacteria was found in the samples tested at the laboratory in Konni. But we will continue our drive against the violators, with the scientific collection of water samples already progressing in various areas,” he said.