Of the 867 water contamination complaints received in the first five months (January to May) of the current year by the BMC, 79 per cent — the highest — has been registered from the city. While the civic body has received 685 complaints from the island city, 127 has been recorded from the western suburbs and 55 complaints from the eastern suburbs.
In the city, the highest has been received from the C-ward (areas near Marine Drive, IR Road and Abdul Rehman street) with 177 complaints, followed by the B-ward (areas near D’Mello Road and Lokmanya Tilak Marg), which recorded 149 such complaints, and the D-ward (Malabar Hills, Tardeo, Bhuleshwar) with 113 complaints.
Officials from the hydraulic department of the civic body have maintained that the problem persists because of old, decrepit, leaky pipelines running alongside sewer lines in the island city.
“There are many old water pipes in these areas which should be replaced. If there is a leakage in the pipes, dirty water from the sewer gets mixed in the water, especially in the monsoons. Citizens are also to be blamed for contamination cases because they throw garbage near the drains and clog them. Most of the societies also don’t clean the water tankers many times, which is another cause for contamination,” said a senior BMC official from the hydraulic department.
The BMC, on a daily basis, conducts tests for water samples collected from every ward at the Dadar and Bhandup treatment complexes.
The civic body’s health and the water department work together to submit reports on water contamination every month.
“The water sometimes is so dirty that we have to leave it running for a while before using it. The main problem is that the pipes run along the sewer and the civic body is not changing these old pipes even after repeated complaints from the residents,” said Christopher Rodrigues, an activist from Bandra.
The civic body also anticipates an increase in the contamination cases during monsoons. Between June and August last year, BMC recorded 1,335 complaints of water contamination, of which 1,132 cases were recorded from the island city, followed by 168 complaints from the western suburbs and 35 from the eastern suburbs.
“It is high time that the civic body changes these old pipes systematically. The higher the contamination, higher are the chances of water-borne diseases spreading in the city, especially in the slums,” said Tamil Selvan, a BJP corporator from the F-North ward, which includes Sion and Matunga.