Downtown

Rangan Street residents raise a stink

A sample of the contaminated water collected a week ago by residents of Rangan Street. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Residents of Rangan Street in T. Nagar went in for a shutdown. They turned off their taps, blocked the supply to their sumps and depended entirely on well water. They did it for 45 days.

This was not a novel experiment in water management. These residents simply could not continue using Metrowater because it was visibly contaminated and stank.

“In the last few months this problem has been recurring every few weeks. There would be a sewage overflow due to clogging of the lines and subsequently our Metrowater supply would get polluted. After repeated calls, Metrowater officials would come visiting two weeks later. Initially, they were unable to locate the problem. They dug up multiple pits on our street and on Usman Road and said the problem had been fixed. Then, a few days later the problem, the problem cropped up again,” says Kannan, a resident of Ragan Street and secretary of T. Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association, showing a sample of the water collected a week ago.

The officials told them there was a leak in a stormwater drain, which lead dirty water entering the Metrowater line. The leak has been plugged now.

However, despite assurances, residents are still hesitant to open the valves of the Metrowater lines. “We have got the sump chemically treated. We don’t want to open the line till we are sure that the problem has been conclusively solved. Getting the sumps cleaned again would involve huge costs,” they add.

Kannan even invested in a water tester.

“I bought a device online to test the mineral content in the water. I have been testing the water regularly, ever since the officials said the problem had been solved. Though the reading is fine, the colour of the water has again started changing. That is why we are apprehensive.”

Meanwhile, for residents like Jayalakshmi, it is a greater struggle every sewage overflows. “Not just the Metrowater line, but sewage enters even our well too. Calls to the department elicit an answer only a week later. Until then we struggle to get water. Sometime you can see sewage stagnating at our backyard. We need a permanent solution to the problem,” she says.

Kannan says the presence of roadside eateries and a mess has only aggravated the problem.

“Utensils are washed and leftovers dumped at the opening of the drains, which eventually get clogged and tends to overflow. Checks have to be put in place to prevent such irresponsible behaviour.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 10:30:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/rangan-street-gets-contaminated-water-for-over-45-days/article7544127.ece

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