E coli levels up in city’s water samples | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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E coli levels up in city’s water samples

mumbai Updated: Feb 20, 2011 01:50 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

First the good news. The overall contamination in your water is down to an all-year low to only 7.88% in all water samples being found unfit for consumption last month.

The bad news – 24 water samples have tested positive for the dreaded E. coli bacteria, and the figure has gone up, from being just 10 in December last year.

The latest findings of water testing by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have revealed that even though the contamination levels in the city’s water have fallen

down to an all-year low, there continues to exist cases of

E. coli contamination in the water.

This comes days after the Bombay high court repeatedly slammed the BMC for supplying contaminated water to citizens.

Figures accessed from January 2010 show that contamination levels in the water were consistently high, with an average of almost 30% of samples testing ‘unfit for consumption’. In fact, the two monsoon months of July and August saw more than 50% of the samples testing unfit for consumption.

In the whole of last year, even the number of E.Coli cases was high, with an average of 38 samples showing presence of the bacteria.

Vinay Deshpande, hydraulic engineer, said the civic body alone wasn’t to blame. “We will have to check exactly where these samples had been taken from. It’s true that a lot of times, the contamination happens thanks to leaking pipelines, when sewage gets mixed with drinking water. But, a lot of times, contamination also occurs from an unclean overhead tank in buildings.”

A senior civic official said the problem with tackling the city’s contamination problem was that at most places, the sewage lines and drinking water pipelines ran parallel to each other underground.

“Hence, when sewage lines start leaking, they corrode water pipelines and thus get mixed. Sewage water is the main source of E. coli too.”

The problem, civic sources point out, is that a different department handles the city’s sewage.

“It’s not fair to blame only the hydraulic department for contamination in water,” the source said.

When asked about such contamination, Deshpande said, “We have been taking regular efforts to ensure contamination is down to a minimal. We are now constantly using submersible cameras into water pipelines to detect any leakages, from where contamination is possible.