The students and staff of 32 government schools are at high risk of falling ill as they are consuming water that has failed the purity test. The water in these schools contains E. coli that can cause diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. Areas where samples failed the test include Payal, Machhiwara, Malaudh, Sudhar, Hathoor and Sahnewal. These schools draw their supply from the municipal council or the water supply department.
The health department collected samples from 62 schools in six blocks of Ludhiana district, a fortnight ago. These were sent for laboratory tests at Punjab Agricultural University. The results were received by the health authorities on Monday.
According to experts, E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacterium is found in water if the sewerage of the area is contaminated. While some strains of this bacteria are harmless, some others can cause food poisoning in their host.
District epidemiologist Dr Ramesh Bhagat said the report of the failure of these samples was sent to the deputy commissioner, the district education officer, primary and secondary both, and they will act on the information.
“The samples were taken as preventive measures from 62 schools and to check if there was any kind of contamination. The water was found to be contaminated in 32 schools,” he said.
He added that the health department will conduct sampling of the same schools in the near future to check whether measures were taken to prevent contamination. Dr Bhagat said private schools in Ludhiana will also undergo checking for water contamination in the coming days.
Some city areas fail test too
The health department also checked water samples from Bhai Himmat Singh Nagar, Baazigar Mohalla, Makkar Colony, Shanti Colony, Rahon Road, Subhash Colony and ward 6, where nine of 24 samples failed the purity test.
A retired superintending engineer from the water and sanitation department, Jaswinder Singh, said passing pipes through manholes should be avoided and where it was not possible to do the same due to lack of space, either a CI or DI pipe in one piece should pass through the manhole or a sleeve should be provided over water pipes.
“Nowadays, stainless steel pipes are available and they must be made mandatory. All the pipes running underground for households or other connections must be made of stainless steel. These pipes do not wear out,” he said.