The housing societies from which Hindustan Times took water samples to test — of the 10 samples collected from across the city, six were found to be unfit for drinking — said they took the utmost care in maintaining their pipes and tanks but were unable to check the underground pipes connected to their buildings from the mains.
The samples were found to have high levels of bacteria that cause gastric and eye infections as well as skin rashes. Residents said the pipelines that supply water to their buildings from the mains often develop leaks and contaminate the supply. It is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that maintains these pipelines. A senior civic official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, admitted as much. “The mains often leak too,” he added.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta told Hindustan Times on Thursday that contamination was a serious concern and that the BMC too was testing water every month. He said they would address complaints on a priority basis. The sample collected from Sagar Mahim Society showed the highest level of contamination — 27 most probable number (MPN)/100 millilitres (ml). The tolerance level is 0 MPN/100 ml. Felix Corriea, a member of the society, said: “We clean our tanks once every six months. But we cannot check the BMC’s underground pipeline that brings water to our society.”
Contamination was also found in the samples collected from societies at Chembur, Andheri, Borivli, Bandra and Ghatkopar. Samples collected from Napeansea Road, Worli, Powai and Mulund showed no contamination.
Priyan Krishnan, a resident of Chembur’s Mahavir Platinum building, said: “We use a water purifier. Many individual members use it too. The building management takes all the precautions required.” Despite this, the sample collected from Mahavir Platinum showed a contamination level of 17 MPN/100 ml.
Gopal Walve, treasurer of Gorai Shree Omkar at Borivli (W), said his society cleans overhead and underground tanks once every seven months. “We cleaned our tanks two months ago. The fault is with the BMC pipelines,” he said.