Special Correspondent

Results of chemical analysis of water samples awaited, says RDO

  • Efforts on to clean up intake well
  • Steps to improve filtration process
  • Call to check indiscriminate use of pesticides

    Thiruvananthapuram: Preliminary investigation into the suspected contamination of a canal supplying drinking water to the Venganoor gram panchayat on Friday has led to the inference that the influx of a mixture of copper sulphate and lime may have led to the discoloration of water at Venniyoor.

    Revenue Divisional Officer ( RDO) K.V. Mohankumar who probed the incident told The Hindu that there was no indication of pesticide pollution.

    Use of chemicals

    He however said the final inference would be possible only after the results of the chemical analysis of water samples were made available.

    Mr. Mohankumar, who collected evidence from local people, said farmers in the area regularly used a mixture of copper sulphate and lime on banana plants to protect against infections. "There is a possibility that one of the farmhands had poured some of the mixture into the water while cleaning a bucket."

    Mr. Mohankumar talked to some of the people who had raised the alarm after seeing the water turning blue near the intake well of the rural water supply scheme that services a major portion of Venganoor and some parts of Vizhinjam.

    Witnesses reported seeing fish swimming in the water near the area where the blue colour was observed. They also said a lump of chalky matter resembling lime was found nearby.

    Fish unaffected

    "From the fact that fish were not affected, it is obvious that the contaminant was not harmful pesticide," Mr. Mohankumar said. In any case, the Kerala Water Authority shut down the pump house and isolated the intake well as soon as the local people raised a hue and cry.

    Awareness

    Mr. Mohankumar stressed the need for an awareness campaign to educate farmers about the need to check the indiscriminate use of pesticides in vegetable farms.

    He said a large number of people were using the canal for bathing, washing clothes and bathing cattle.

    Meanwhile, efforts are on to clean up the intake well. A layer of charcoal is to be added to the tank to improve the filtration process.

    The treatment facility is part of a rural water supply scheme covering over three thousand and odd households in the panchayat.

    The water from the canal is diverted to the filtration tank. From the filtration tank it is redirected to a gallery for treatment and purification. Water is then pumped up to an overhead reservoir at Nellivila for distribution through a network of pipes.

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