CHENNAI: Following reports of widespread contamination of drinking water in the capital city, 10 filling stations maintained by the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board (CMWSSB) have come under the Food Safety Wing’s scanner.
This move comes in the backdrop of a few sample test reports from Kilpauk, Kathipara and Poonammalle High Road (Pachaiyappa’s College) confirming contamination of water supplied by Chennai Metro Water and private suppliers.
In the aftermath of the cyclone Vardah, ground and surface water in Chennai and neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram got contaminated due to broken sewer lines and unattended garbage on the roadsides.
The disease outbreak that followed had forced the Food Safety Department to inspect water supply points across the district, particularly at major filling stations in Kilpauk, Royapuram, Nungambakkam and Vadapalani. Eight special teams were formed for this purpose.
Speaking to Express, a senior Food Safety Wing official said that test reports on samples collected from these points suggested that chlorine levels were way below par.
“Though food safety norms mandate chlorine concentration in drinking water to be around 0.02 mg/litre, in some cases zero chlorination was reported. Since water from these structures was distributed to most parts of the city for consumption, chlorine was added to ensure safety,” the official added.
The food safety authorities had also informed the local executive engineers to raise the chlorination level up to 5 PPM without further delay, to kill bacteria and microbes.
In addition, tankers from neighbouring districts which quench the thirst of Chennaiites to a large extent were also examined by flying squads at three arterial stretches - Mount Road, PH Road and Old Mahabalipuram Road.
Out of the 660 tanker lorries examined by the authorities in the last four days, contamination was reported in close to 60 tankers. Water in these tanks was chlorinated using a gas pumping system at the spot.
“We faced similar issues post-2015 December floods and this experience helped us in preventing a major disease outbreak,” the official added.