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You?re drinking bacteria: ITRC

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 00:18 IST
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NEARLY 50 per cent water supplied by the municipal authorities in the city is bacteriologically unsafe, states a post-monsoon assessment report of the drinking water quality in Lucknow conducted by Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC).

The report further states that about 26 per cent ground water samples taken from the hand pumps were also found contaminated. The institute collected drinking water samples from various localities of the city under residential, commercial and industrial category. Through Coliforms count (a techniques to test impurities in the potable water), it was found that potable water has bacteria and viruses.

Maximum water contamination was found in Gomti Nagar and Indira Nagar through samples for residential areas were collected from Aliganj, Vikas Nagar, Paper Mill Colony, Nirala Nagar, Triveni Nagar, Rajajipuram, Model House, Ashiana and Sadar Cantonment. All the samples were analysed for their bacteriological quality of Coliforms and faecal Coliforms per 100 ml of sample according to standards methods of Bureau of Indian Standards.

The prime source of municipal water supply in Lucknow is Gomti River flowing through the middle of the city and booster pumps getting ground water through tube wells to supplement the piped water supply in different areas of the city.
The major source of water contamination is the faecal wastes of sewage. Broken pipes and loose joints in the distribution system are also responsible for water contamination through seepage and back suction of sewage. Inadequate chlorination at the source of supply is also responsible for improper disinfection of supplied drinking water at consumers’ end, the report says.

It underlines that pathogenic bacteria causes several water borne diseases like diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, amoebiasis, meningitis, poliomyelitis, encephalitis, hepatitis and typhoid fever.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 2.5 billion people in developing world and about 80 per cent disease world wide are associated with contaminated drinking water, particularly in developing and undeveloped countries.

Professor and Head of Gastroenterology in SGPGI G Choudhury says according to international standards, coliform count should be zero in potable water.  Coliform count is one of the indicators that water is bacteriologically not safe that causes water borne diseases like vomiting, typhoid, diarrhoea, Hepatitis A and E. There may be chemical impurities too that can cause other health hazards.   

The report suggested periodical water supply monitoring with special emphasis on proper disinfection and maintenance of drinking water sources is required.