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Updated: August 18, 2013 08:51 IST

Tondiarpet water contamination: aftermath of an unhealthy mix

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan
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Residents are forced to depend on water stored in containers as their borewells are still contaminated with oil — Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam
THE HINDU;THE HINDU Residents are forced to depend on water stored in containers as their borewells are still contaminated with oil — Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Residents are unhappy over the lack of effective solutions to the mixing of oil with water

Over a month ago, residents of Tondiarpet complained of oil mixing with the water in their borewells. Today, they continue to be worried over the fact that not much progress has been made in resolving the issue.

“A case is in progress and various directions have been issued by government bodies. We are also getting water supply from the oil company. But we are still sitting on oil, which is worrisome,” said Jayaraman, a senior citizen and resident of Tondiarpet.

“We are concerned over the fact that oil is still being pumped out every day from the borewells. The pumping has been going on for nearly a month now and still, a litre or two of pure oil comes out first followed by oil mixed with water. What will happen if there is a fire in this area,” wondered Umachandran, another resident, whose borewell too has been contaminated.

These are residents of a small cluster of homes on a large rectangular plot, whose five borewells have been contaminated by oil seepage from underground pipelines. Though the source of leak is yet to be ascertained, an IIT-Madras report said that the contaminant was mainly composed of diesel. Residents of another street, an open well in a nearby clinic and a cinema theatre in the same locality have been affected by the seepage.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, which was issued a show cause notice by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and a directive from the Central Pollution Control Board to stop using pipelines running underground, has been supplying water to residents daily for a month now.

“Every family gets 13 pots of water. This is hardly enough to meet our requirements. We had decided the date of our daughter’s wedding and the groom’s family is coming over for a ceremony. We haven’t invited other relatives for fear of additional water requirement,” said Sulochana Ravikumar, a resident.

Around 12 borewells were contaminated with oil and residents had been trying to complain to various authorities since last November about the issue. “We want some kind of permanent solution. We cannot move out of our homes. New borewells that are deeper than the present ones or borewells from elsewhere to our homes would also do,” said Mr. Umachandran.

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