Faecal contamination detected in drinking water supplied by tanker lorries

Four of the nine samples collected from tanker lorries supplying drinking water in Ernakulam were found to have the presence of coliform bacteria, an indication of faecal contamination.

The samples were collected from nine tanker lorries during an inspection at Kalamassery by a special team constituted by the district administration on December 24. The inspection was conducted after a Legislative Committee meeting held here on December 5 came down heavily on the administration for its failure to act against tanker lorries drawing water from illegal sources. Samples were taken as part of the Operation Pure Water initiative suggested by the Assembly Committee.

There were complaints that tanker lorries were collecting untreated water from abandoned, waterlogged quarries and other waterbodies for supply to schools, hotels, and hospitals.

The report dated December 27, a copy of which was seen by The Hindu and filed before the Joint Secretary, Legislative Petition Committee, Thiruvananthapuram, said faecal contamination had been detected in water drawn from four private wells located at Chalakkal (two wells), Pathadipalam, and Pulinchodu. Three of the nine samples were found fit for consumption after preliminary tests. The results of the remaining two samples are expected soon, according to the regional office of the State Pollution Control Board in Ernakulam.

The presence of residual chlorine, an indicator that sufficient amount of chlorine was added initially to water to inactivate bacteria and viruses, was found in the three samples found fit for consumption. “Of these, the source of two samples was the supplying point under the Kerala Water Authority [KWA] at Aluva, while the third one was from a private well at Chalakkal,” the findings revealed.

The report said the recommendation of the Assembly Committee that drinking water be taken only from hydrants and supply points of the KWA was appropriate going by the test results. Only two of the nine tankers were found drawing water from the supply points of the authority. The KWA had informed the Assembly panel on December 5 that it was prepared to supply the required amount of drinking water to private suppliers.

Assembly Committee Chairman K.B. Ganesh Kumar had asked the district administration to cancel the order of the previous Collector not to stop tankers midway for inspections. While providing water to tankers, the time of supply and the number of the vehicle should be included in the water bill. Only vehicles that have been certified and issued licences should be used for the collection and supply of water. The quantity and quality of water should be periodically inspected, it was suggested.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 4:50:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/faecal-contamination-detected-in-drinking-water-supplied-by-tanker-lorries/article30422965.ece

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