CHENNAI: Tests of water samples in Chitlapakkam have shown high levels of ammonia, phosphate and nitrate contamination. These contaminants are known to cause cancer over prolonged exposure.
In a bid to highlight the effects of irresponsibly disposing of municipal waste and emptying raw sewage into a lake, city-based NGO Arappor Iyakkam tested water samples from the Chitlapakkam lake and the nearby Anna Street.
The Chitlapakkam lake is the primary aquifer that recharges groundwater levels in the area
“The colour of the water we get is enough to tell you it’s contaminated but we decided to
conduct tests to find out what exactly is contaminating it,” said Lakshmi Krishnakumar,
a local activist.
Using a Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Department kit, volunteers of Arappor Iyakkam and Chitlapakkam Rising tested the samples collected from the lake and Anna Street. Both water samples failed all 11 parameters. While the lake water showed four times the acceptable amount of ammonia level of 0.5mg/l and two times the safe level of nitrate - 45 mg/l , the sample taken from Anna Street showed two times the ammonia safe limit and had twice more nitrate than the acceptable level.
The lake water also contained two times the acceptable fluoride content -1.5mg/l “This clearly shows that the contaminants in the lake water are also seeping into the groundwater levels of nearby areas,” said Harris Sulthan, an activist with Arappor Iyakkam, who coordinated the tests. Residents of Chitlapakkam said they would be sending these test results to the Town Panchayat and the PWD department to ensure the condition is reversed over time.