The State government on Thursday advised public sector oil companies to strengthen systems to prevent seepage from pipelines passing through the congested North Chennai area.

This was conveyed to a group of officials of the companies – IOC, BPCL, HPCL and CPCL – who attended a meeting convened by Environment Minister M.C. Sampath at the Secretariat here. Senior officials of the Department of Environment and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) participated in the meeting, sources privy to the discussion said.

Though reports of leaks from the pipelines had increased over the last few months, the immediate provocation for Thursday’s meeting was mixing of oil with the groundwater in Tondiarpet. Following complaints to this effect from households near the terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) issued a show cause notice to the company.

At the meeting, BPCL, in particular, was asked to speed up the cleaning of the wells, while other companies were asked to tighten their procedures so as to avoid seepages, the sources said.