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Water in most of city unfit to drink

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2011 00:44 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
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The monsoon has just set in yet contamination levels in the city’s drinking water are already cause for alarm.

In the latest figures available for May 2011, one in every 10 water samples collected was found to be unfit for human consumption. Despite being prime real estate areas, Bandra (E), Khar (E) and Santacruz (E), along with areas around Kurla and Chunabhatti are worst-affected. What’s worse, however, is that 36 water samples tested positive for the dreaded E. coli bacteria.

The problem of contaminated water is especially bad in the L ward Kurla, Chunabhatti and parts of Sakinaka, where 40% of the samples collected were contaminated. Civic officials said the problem was the high number of slums in these areas, wherein water pipelines are vulnerable to contamination.

Despite consistent figures highlighting the problem, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refuses to admit to the problem, claiming instead that there might be a problem with the way the samples were taken.

The civic body’s hydraulic engineer Ramesh Bambale said, “If the container is already dirty, the sample will automatically show contamination.” Collected between May 1 and 31, civic officials believe these samples, and especially the results about E. coli are warning signs.

A senior civic official, not wishing to be named, said, “Through the year, contamination happens mainly through leaks in underground pipelines, wherein sewage water or other impurities enter. But, during the monsoon, thanks to flooding, even pipes on the ground face the problem of contamination.”

Bambale said instructions had been given to officials to respond quickly to cases of contamination. “We have told officials not to wait for an official report and act fast on complaints.”