Residents have been getting a murky bluish-black oily liquid when they pump water from borewells
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on Monday issued a show cause notice to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited for not notifying the Board about the closure of two pipelines in Tondiarpet. The Board also took about 20 samples from borewells in the area after residents complained of oil mixing with the ground water.
Sources said the oil company was given seven days to respond and report the action taken or else face closure. The company had abandoned the two pipelines in the area after frequent drop in pressure indicating leaks. In November 2012, it had also done some repair work after residents complained, the sources added. A company official said records showed that the closure of the pipelines had been communicated to the board. Mitigation measures were also on to ensure residents faced no problems, said the official, who denied that there were any leaks.
Scientists from the Central Pollution Control Board were part of the team that collected samples. Representatives from various oil companies were also present.
The oil in the water is due to a leak in an underground pipeline in the vicinity said residents of Tondiarpet. Cloth dipped in the water catches fire. The water, if set afire, burns till the oil content is consumed. Residents have been getting a murky bluish-black oily liquid when they pump water from borewells. A residential compound on Tiruvottiyur High Road has around 30 houses and all of them had borewells. Now, at least five wells have been closed due to oil getting mixed with the water.
“The company asked us to close our borewells and said they would take steps to stop the leak. But, the water now has more oil than ever. We sent many complaints to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Chennai Corporation but until now, there was no response except an SMS from the Corporation,” said K. Umachandran, a resident. Some house owners have opted for Chennai Metrowater connections but find it difficult to manage since supply is only on alternate days.
“I have been used to water round the clock. But now, we are forced to pump the water to the sump and then pump it to the overhead tank. We don’t know what to do now,” said K. S. Jayaraman, who still hasn’t lost hope about his bore water. He filters it using bricks, sand, pebbles and the end product is water that still smells of oil.