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'Levels of bacteria in water shocking'

Experts and retired officials are shocked at the recorded contamination levels recorded at the three reservoirs which supply water to major areas in the western suburbs. Kunal Purohit reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 11, 2011 00:41 IST
Kunal Purohit

Experts and retired officials are shocked at the recorded contamination levels recorded at the three reservoirs which supply water to major areas in the western suburbs.

Water to suburbs such as Parle (West), Santacruz (West), Bandra (East), Bandra (West), and parts of Andheri (East), Hill Road, Khar Danda and Juhu, is supplied from three reservoirs — Verawali hill reservoir III and two reservoirs at Pali Hill. Civic test samples collected from these three reservoirs in July show "infinite" presence of E.coli bacteria.

Insiders said any contamination detected at the reservoirs would have serious repercussions because the reservoirs are the last post where water is purified before it reaches your taps.

Dhaval Desai from Observer Research Foundation, who is drafting an extensive study on the city’s water supply, said the contamination levels at reservoirs were ‘shocking’. "It is probably unprecedented in history and hence, the BMC should rise to the occasion and see what has gone wrong."

Retired hydraulic engineer TV Shah felt that civic staff was to be blamed for the reported levels of contamination. "The BMC needs to crack down on its errant staff, which might not have been taking samples correctly."

PR Sanglikar, retired deputy municipal commissioner, however, dismisses claims of improper sampling. Said Sanglikar, "Sampling could be wrong on a couple of days at the most. However, when water shows contamination on 24 of 31 days in a month, the reason cannot be improper sampling."

Residents, meanwhile, are worried. Anandini Thakoor, chairperson, Khar residents association, said they would test their civic water. "Although we had been sceptical about municipal water, we did not imagine the presence of E.coli in it."

Ramesh Bambale, hyrdraulic engineer, said the BMC was investigating the cause. "Ideally, there should be no contamination at the reservoir level."