Situation prevalent even in areas with underground sewage

The recent move of the Tiruchi Corporation to carry out a thorough check of its drinking water supply distribution lines in the Chinthamani area in the city to rule out contamination following incidence of fever in the locality was described by civic officials as a measure of abundant precaution.

Officials ruled out any contamination after the check. Nevertheless, the move brought to fore how the drinking water pipelines in some parts of the city could be susceptible and not entirely protected against possible contamination.

In quite a few places in the city, pipes carrying drinking water to households cut across open drains, making them vulnerable and opening up the possibility of contamination.

A case in point is the situation at Seshadripuram in Srirangam, where the pipelines carrying drinking water to the households typically cut across an open drain running in front of the houses.

The narrow drain is further constricted by a few residents move to construct permanent concrete structures across the drain, to provide easy access to their houses.

“The water pipes are often submerged under the sewage, posing a risk. All kind of debris including construction waste and plastics are dumped in the drain. After repeated representations, some silt was cleared from the drain some months back. But few house owners have blocked the smooth passage of sewage by concrete structures above the drain. The constriction of the open drain owing to the construction makes it very difficult for the Corporation workers to clean the drain,” says J. Anantha Padamanaban, a resident of the locality.

Significantly, such a situation prevails even in areas where underground sewage network is available, raising questions over the need for open drains in such places. Seshadripuram too is connected by the underground sewage network.

Yet the open drain runs to the brim, indicating that not all houses are connected to the underground sewer.

Some of the councillors of the Corporation have also been airing complaint at council meetings over the condition of the pipelines that were laid three to four decades back in some parts of the city.

These old pipelines often develop leaks. The Corporation has planned to replace some of the old pipes under the new drinking water supply augmentation scheme currently under execution, officials say.