Reverse osmosis plant offers lifeline to residents

Residents of a slum pocket in Pammal municipality in the city’s southern suburbs now have access to safe, protected and clean drinking water, absolutely free of cost. 

A reverse osmosis (RO) plant was recently commissioned on Kasturba Street in Ward No. 12 of the municipality to provide drinking water to the residents. Installed at a cost of Rs. 3 lakh, the plant provides 2,000 litres of water every day to residents of the ward, which has about 3,000 households. Similar plants are likely to come up in nine other locations in the municipality.

The plant was dedicated by Pallavaram MLA P. Dhan Singh last week. B.Venkatesan, vice-chairman of the municipality, said the source of water was a deep borewell on Karturba Street that was sunk about 20 years ago. “Water from this borewell is first pumped to the street-side tank. It is then transferred to the RO plant and the treated water is stored in a separate water tank inside the chamber from where it is supplied to residents in the morning and evening,” he said.  

According to him, they selected Ward no. 12 for launching the project as it was among the pockets with a high concentration of families below the poverty line. “We wanted as many poor households as possible to benefit from the project. So, we allow a household to fetch only one pot of water a day,” Mr. Venkatesan said. Residents fetch water in pots that have a capacity between 10 and 20 litres. On an average, 100 households fetch water every day. 

“Earlier, the water we would take from street-side tanks would be salty. We had to either boil and filter it or buy drinking water. The water we now get is very sweet and a potful is more than enough for us,” said Janaki Sivachandran, a homemaker. The plant, residents said, also helped them save money as they could now avoid paying Rs. 25-Rs. 30 for a 20-litre bubble top can of mineral water. 

However, the tank inside the chamber can store only 1,000 litres of water. For every 1,000 litres of treated water produced, 500 to 750 litres of water goes waste down the stormwater drain. To address this, a separate tank will soon be built to store the waste water. This can be used for washing clothes, cleaning vessels or gardening.

More In: Chennai | News