Kochi

Coliform found in 83% of tanker water samples

Rules thrown to the wind: Private tanker operators have been directed to collect drinking water only from Kerala Water Authority hydrants.

Rules thrown to the wind: Private tanker operators have been directed to collect drinking water only from Kerala Water Authority hydrants.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

All samples collected from wells owned by private individuals

Five of the six samples collected by the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) from private wells at Muttom, Aluva, and Kalamassery that act as the source for private tankers supplying drinking water in Kochi were found to be having coliform bacteria, indicating faecal contamination.

The tests were conducted by board officials here on January 29. The report assumes significance as private tankers continue to draw water from private wells following relaxation of rules by the district administration.

The Assembly Committee on Petitions, which had taken up the issue of tankers collecting untreated water from private sources, had reiterated during its sitting held here on January 14 that private tankers should collect drinking water only from Kerala Water Authority (KWA) hydrants.

The presence of residual chlorine, an indicator that sufficient amount of chlorine was initially added to the water to inactivate bacteria and viruses, was not detected in the five samples.

Clean water

In its report submitted to the Assembly Committee on Petitions, the regional office of the board in Ernakulam had said that residual chlorine was found in all samples collected from KWA hydrants. Chlorine was added in sufficient quantities to inactivate bacteria and viruses causing diarrhoeal diseases.

Well owners engaged in supply of water to private tanker operators often do not add chlorine, claiming that it was not practical. However, a few of them have now started using chlorine as a disinfectant. Of the six samples, one collected from a private well at Kangarappady had the presence of residual chlorine. But the remaining samples lacked chlorine, leading to the detection of coliform, according to PCB officials.

An office-bearer of an apartment association at Palarivattom said the association had no other option but to depend on water collected from private wells as operators had been demanding a higher fee for water drawn from KWA hydrants.

Interestingly, the operators have even hiked the rate for a load of 10,000 litres of water drawn from private wells by ₹300 over the last few weeks. “They are cashing in on the situation as we have no other option but to depend on private tanker network for our daily needs,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 3:41:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/coliform-found-in-83-of-tanker-water-samples/article30756343.ece

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