CHENNAI: A broken pipe carrying raw sewage from Chromepet and Hastinapuram to a pumping station at Keelkattalai had emptied into the Nanmangalam canal after a bridge on the canal was demolished to make way for the excess rain water.
According to officials in the municipality, the broken pipe may have released around five lakh litres of sewage into the canal per day. This means, so far, more than 20 lakh litres of sewage has entered the Narayanapuram lake in S Kolathur, where the canal empties into.
“The Narayanapuram lake is a source of drinking water. This incident is a perfect example of how temporary, last minute solutions will cause more harm than good,” said Sajid Hussain, a resident of S Kolathur.
Residents first noticed the broken pipe after water level in the canal receded on Sunday and informed Pallavaram municipality on Monday. The municipality was quick to point a finger at the Public Works Department which had demolished the bridge encasing the pipe.
Repair of the pipeline began on Tuesday morning and was finished by the evening. However, the temporary solution of placing the pipe on the debris of the bridge might become futile if water level in the canal increases. “The next rain will bring the pipe down again. We will have to return,” said a worker fixing the pipe.
The contractor hired by the municipality to find a temporary solution and refit the broken pipe told Express that a permanent solution to support the pipe using pillars would have to wait till the summer, when water in the canal is reduced to a trickle.
The Commissioner of Pallavaram Municipality, Shivakumar, told Express that most of the water was “sewage diluted with rainwater” and that a permanent solution will be sought after discussions with PWD.
The PWD owned up their mistake but were at a loss for words when asked why encroachments, marked for demolition less than 100 metres from where the bridge supporting the sewage pipe was demolished, have been left standing, if the intention was to ensure proper flow of water.
Persistent drizzle brings down temperature
Chennai: The persistent drizzle that continued into its second day until Tuesday afternoon, brought down temperature to a minimum of 24.5°C and a maximum of 26.4°C. While the temperature hovered around 23-25°C on Monday, it rose slightly on Tuesday, although it remained below normal. Similarly, while the city received a total rainfall of 29.90 mm on Monday, it received only about 6mm until Tuesday evening. Light showers are expected to last until Wednesday.