Metro tunnel boring near Pensioners’ lane resulted in discolouration, say residents
Rasheeda Mansoor, a resident of Old Washermenpet, is worried as her children’s white school uniforms have turned yellow in colour.
The discolouration has not spared the buckets, mugs and even the washing machine in her home located on third lane of Pensioners’ Lane.
Over the past few months, since the groundwater coming from borewells turned yellow, residents have been running from pillar to post for help to rectify the problem, but in vain.
“My children’s teachers were not pleased to see the coloured uniforms. But we have no choice and cannot afford to buy water to wash our clothes,” said Rasheeda.
Many residents of fourth lane share similar woes. Buckets and other utensils used to store groundwater have a yellow coating in almost all the houses here.
Some residents said the colour of the groundwater had changed after Chennai Metro Rail commenced its tunnel boring work near Pensioners’ Lane.
Devi Viswanath, a resident of the area for nearly 50 years, said residents are also facing severe water shortage as the supply of piped water has reduced. “We are not getting water through the pipelines as there is not enough pressure. We depend on the lorry supply and have to wait and fight for a few pots of water,” said Vijayalakshmi, another resident.
Devi’s neighbour, Kauser said, “We used the borewell water for cooking earlier. Now, if we fill the buckets with this water, it is coated with an oily layer on the top within an hour.”
Abdul Haleem, a resident, said they have submitted petitions to authorities but no action has been taken.
An official of Chennai Metro Rail said they were regularly monitoring the water table in Washermanpet. “The borewells in the tunnelling alignment are closed permanently. Those borewells adjacent to the tunnel are plugged temporarily. Once the tunnel boring machine passes, we check the water’s quality and open the well. During this period, we are providing alternative sources of water. If residents bring this to our notice, we will certainly look into it,” he added.
Sources with Chennai Metrowater said tail-end areas in north Chennai may not get piped supply due to a decrease in water pressure. The water agency is reorganising the water supply in the wake of dwindling storage in the city reservoirs due to lack of rains.
However, various localities are supplied with water at adequate pressure on alternate days. At present, water supply is being managed through street tanks and lorries in some areas that do not get piped water supply, a source said.
Hydrogeologists of various government agencies said that there is a possibility of the groundwater getting discoloured due to tunnelling work.
Old Washermenpet is a sandy area, with a hard rock formation 80 feet below the ground.
“When tunnelling is done at high pressure, a liquid is sprayed on the machines and this could lead to discolouration of the water. This may have an impact on the water table for a depth of 2 metre to 3 metre. However, the liquid would get diluted after a rain spell and the normal colour restored,” a hydrogeologist said.