KWA says contamination highly localised

Cracks in the city’s water pipeline appear to have caused not just disruption in supply but taken a toll on the quality of drinking water supplied.

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA)’s quality control division, entrusted with the task of testing water quality, has detected the presence of faecal coliform bacteria or E.coli in the water samples collected from various areas.

An official with the KWA told The Hindu that leaks in the water pipeline were considered to be the cause of the presence of E.coli as contamination was highly localised. Tests conducted so far had not detected the presence of E.coli in the pumping stations or at the water source, the official said. A month ago, tests conducted on samples collected from the Karakulam area found the presence of E.coli, much above the permissible limits, in certain residential colonies in the region. Raw water samples collected from a drinking water tap in the Santhi Nagar area in Karakulam found that the coliform count was 1,100 organisms/100 ml against the permissible limit of 10 organisms per 100 ml. However, tests conducted on samples collected from the pumping station to the Karakulam area did not find the presence of E.coli, the official said.

In Vellanad

Tests on samples collected from the Vellanad area too detected the presence of coliform bacteria, here too 1,100 organisms/100 ml, and the contamination was localised, the official said.

“So we can presume that the bacteria have sneaked into the system because of cracks in the pipeline. However, we cannot ignore the gravity of the situation and it has warranted constant vigil taking into account recurrent pipe bursts in the city,” said another official.

Recent tests also found excessive presence of nitrate and iron content in the drinking water supplied in the city, particularly in the Karikkakam area. In the Venganoor area, high level of benzene hexachloride was found due to the use of pesticides for vegetable cultivation there, the source said.