Water quality restored in 8 borewells; residents asked not to use them till operation is complete

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited on Tuesday took steps to flush out oil and water from 12 borewells in Tondiarpet area that had been affected due to underground seepage.

Sources said the pipes and motors in the borewells were removed and using air, the water and petrol sediment were extracted. “Water in eight borewells has become clear. We have restored these borewells and on Wednesday, the restoration of the other borewells will be taken up. Till then, residents have been asked not to use the borewells,” said a source in BPCL.

Repeated flushing out of the wells would help restore the water in the area and rains would replenish the groundwater table, said a source. The water and oil mix has been taken to the BPCL Tondiarpet facility where the oil would be separated from the water and disposed off safely, said a source. The cleaning process is likely to take at least a week.

A few residents have demanded that the company install new borewells that go deeper to avoid any seepage of oil into the groundwater.

The BPCL, meanwhile, had arranged for safe drinking water supply to residents whose only drinking water source had been affected by the oil residue from two abandoned pipelines. The underground pipelines that run from the Chennai Port to the company’s Tondiarpet facility had been abandoned by the company after they lost pressure on many occasions. Presently, the pipelines do not contain oil but have water in them.

Around six months ago, residents of around 40 houses in one compound in the locality had complained of polluted water. Following this, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) issued a showcause notice to the oil company.

Meanwhile, a team of officials of BPCL, who had been called to the TNPCB office in Guindy, has been directed to ensure supply of safe drinking water. Board chairman D. Karthikeyan discussed the issued with the officials and directed the company to conduct a scientific study to ascertain the cause of oil seepage. “They have also been asked to ensure that such instances of leaks and seepages do not occur again,” said a source.

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