Residents of around 60 houses in West Mogappair have complained that the ground water in their area has been contaminated with oil for almost a year now. They said that the contamination is due to leakage of oil from a petrol pump situated in the vicinity.
Eyewitnesses said some residents took to the streets on Sunday morning demanding that the issue be addressed immediately.
“We wrote to the Commissioner's office, the Collector and the Pollution Control Board in the past one year. We were assured by the Board that steps had been taken to curb the problem, but the contamination still persists,” said Kalaivani, a resident.
“Initially, it was just one street that was affected, but now, with the rains, the problem has perpetuated to other streets of the block,” said Anabarasan, a resident.
Alleging that most hand pumps in their area tap drained water, the residents said that due to water shortage, they needed to buy water on a regular basis. Besides, the contaminated water from the wells has been causing them various health problems, they said.
Some officials at the Indian Oil Corporation petrol pump said that when such a complaint was brought to their notice last year, they had taken all steps to check and prevent any contamination from their side.
Chances of leakage, they said, are negligible because the petrol pump has an oil-separator and a concrete pit to detect and collect all leaked material and prevent it from pervading other areas.
They also said that readings showed no abnormal loss of material that signaled any kind of leakage.
Urging government officials to look into the drainage and sewage system of the area, an official of the IOCL said,
“Any kind of an oil leakage is a cause of concern for all of us. The dealer will have to take it up with the concerned authorities, trace the leakage points and find out where the water is actually getting contaminated, if that is the case.”