Bandra residents fall sick after receiving water with faecal contamination | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Bandra residents fall sick after receiving water with faecal contamination

Jun 13, 2024 08:42 AM IST

A BMC water contamination test has revealed the presence of E Coli and Coliform bacteria in the water, indicating the possibility of mixing with faeces

Mumbai: Stinky, contaminated water running through the taps at housing societies in Kalanagar, Bandra East, has led to the spread of water-borne diseases in the area over the past few days. A BMC water contamination test has revealed the presence of E Coli and Coliform bacteria in the water, indicating the possibility of mixing with faeces. A water test from samples taken on June 10 tested unsafe for two housing societies, Sahitya Sahawas CHS and Patrakar Society.

Bandra residents fall sick after receiving water with faecal contamination
Bandra residents fall sick after receiving water with faecal contamination

“The water has been smelly for around 15 days, after which my mother-in-law started vomiting,” said Vaishali Phadke, a resident of Sahitya Sahawas.

“The complaints then started pouring in, with the secretary of my building asking everyone to boil water before drinking it. My husband is a gastroenterologist, and after he fell sick from vomiting with fever, he got a lot of calls from people complaining of the same and diarrhoea.”

Another resident from Sahitya Sahawas corroborated Phadke’s account, saying “Around four days ago, my mother had a violent bout of diarrhoea and dysentery that went on all night.” This is despite boiling the water before using it for any drinking purposes. The residents have now switched to using bottled water for their uses, which is creating a supply shortage in the area.

The secretary of the building opposite theirs, Patrakar Nagar, confirmed this. “There have been complaints from at least half a dozen housing societies in the Kalanagar area and to this date, there’s no improvement in the situation,” said Eugiene Paul, who is also a part of an Advanced Locality Management (ALM) in the area. The concept of mutual working of civic citizen partnership with the municipal corporation is termed as ALM.

Other buildings in the locality where the complaints of residents falling sick due to contaminated water came from included Jade Gardens and Oriana. Rumours among the residents floated of leaks due to road works in multiple areas to a pipe burst near a sewage line, leading to the contamination.

Officers from the BMC’s H East ward, however, had evasive replies to the situation. An officer in the health department insisted the contamination was restricted to the two buildings.

“These samples were taken from the overhead tanks of the two buildings, Sahitya Sahawas CHS and Patrakar Society, which means the contamination is present in the last leg of transportation or in the building premises. It’s not widespread in the area,” he said. “What sparked these concerns is one family who got food poisoning after eating a meal together. Others made connections to their falling ill, but you can’t make the inference that the cause was the same. The water samples from the two buildings which had tested unsafe have now been rectified and are safe.”

He added that as they got the complaints, they stopped the water supply, did a reverse flow, reverse flush, and cleared the contamination.

Speaking about the issue at large, he said, “There’s no doubt that there is contamination. There is a lot of road work that happens and pipes burst, but it is not to such an extent. We also monitor health facilities in the area, and none have shown an influx in patients due to contaminated water.”

An engineer in the water department of the same ward said they had spotted two leaks in the main water pipe which was being fixed. “The water is smelly, so we sent a camera to the water main line and discovered two spots which needed fixing. These must have been caused by road work, either before and expanded over time.”

He further said, “The issue will be fixed in two days. Till then, we have asked residents to boil and filter water before drinking. We’ve also started the chlorination of water.”

Yet another senior engineer in the water department said they were working on finding the source of contamination. “The complaints are from three to four buildings, not the entire area. Today, we found one spot where there were three to four leaks in the pipeline, and we have repaired it. We will test the samples tomorrow morning during water supply and we hope the contamination has cleared off.”

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