Residents blame it on waste from marriage halls

Residents of two adjacent localities in Tambaram and Sembakkam municipalities took to the streets on Saturday protesting against the contamination of surface and bore wells. They blamed the stagnation of sewage let out by marriage halls, restaurants and commercial establishments into stormwater drains.

Angry residents displayed samples of contaminated water and demanded action from the local bodies in setting right the issue.  

The residents said that a few marriage halls along Velachery Main Road did not have the mandatory diaphragm and filtration chambers that would segregate solid particles from grey water before it was released into stormwater drains.

Thus, even food waste was let out into the open drains in Annai Nagar in Ward No. 19 of Tambaram Municipality and Ganesh Nagar in Ward No. 11 of Sembakkam Municipality.

A few weeks ago, the stormwater drain was blocked after a lorry-load of mud was dumped on it. This resulted in the stagnation of sewage, which seeped into the ground and contaminated the wells in houses in the two wards. 

A pungent odour emanated from the water and the wells.

“Samples of water, tested at a microbiology lab, were found to contain contained E. coli, faecal matter and diarrhoea causing germs. The water was declared to be unfit for human consumption,” said a resident of Ward No. 11 of Sembakkam Municipality. 

Residents of Ganesh Nagar have been able to obtain safe drinking water from public fountains apart from bubble tops. However, those in Annai Nagar have been forced to shell out huge amounts of money to buy water as public tanks on the roadside have slipped into disuse and have been abandoned. 

Officials said they had already conducted spot inspections and initiated penal proceedings against the erring commercial establishments. They would visit the wards again and also look into the problem of water contamination and lack of supply.