Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drinking water continues to be Polluted, finds Lok Satta

A sample survey carried out by the Lok Satta Party at 99 locations in the city has revealed that drinking water continues to be contaminated with bacteria at many places. The survey also revealed that only three of the 99 samples taken by the party volunteers had acceptable levels of residual chlorine (RC).

Announcing this here today, Lok Satta party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and survey organizer Mr. Sivaram said that although the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board has a full-time monitoring team of 20 sample takers and is supposed to test 300-400 samples a day, it has woefully failed to ensure the required quality in municipal water supply. “Any Government which can’t even ensure supply of safe drinking water is not fit to govern.”

The party took up the survey, alarmed by the recent spate of reports on contamination of municipal water supply. Lok Satta Party volunteers tested water samples in 99 different locations spread across seven divisions of the GHMC (Motinagar, Moosapet, Balanagar, KPHB, Fatehnagar, Begumpet and Old Bowenpally). The party bought chlorine test kits and H2S strip test vials and trained its volunteers in carrying out the tests in their locations.

“According to accepted quality standards, residual chlorine (RC) levels of 0.2 ppm (parts per million) should be maintained in the distribution network, up to the tail-end points to ensure adequate disinfection. There is a clearly established positive correlation between the presence of 0.2 ppm RC and absence of bacterial contamination. Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board is supposedly following the same standards and in fact its internal monitoring and quality assurance plan (published on its website) calls for regular monitoring of RC levels, and adjusting the chlorine levels using booster chlorinators where needed.

“Unfortunately, in the sample survey undertaken by the Lok Satta volunteers, only 3 samples (out of 99) had RC levels of 0.2 ppm. Wherever the RC level was found to be less than 0.2 ppm, the volunteers did a H2S strip test for bacterial contamination. The H2S strip test carried out in 44 locations, 18 samples tested positive, indicating bacterial contamination. We immediately alerted the people in those locations to boil their water.”

The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government take immediate measures to ensure that the municipal water supply met the minimum acceptable quality norms. Metrowater Board should publish the results of the daily water tests on its website. “We also demand monitoring of water supply an independent agency to ensure its quality.”

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