The tests at NEERI cost Rs 11,700 while the ones at BRIT cost Rs 8,024, said Rao, adding that the civic administration will be allowed to pay for the tests twice a year. (Illustration by: C R Sasikumar)
To ensure that it’s clean and safe for consumption, samples of the water being supplied to Pune city will be sent for testing to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur and Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) in Navi Mumbai twice a year. The decision comes after the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said it was unable to carry out certain tests to check the water for harmful chemicals and other material.
Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pulled up the civic body over its failure to conduct these tests to check water quality. The CAG had pointed out that the PMC had not tested either the raw water or drinking water for pesticides and chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Trihalomethanes (THMS). The agencies will also conduct Gross Alpha and Gross beta tests, to check for radioactivity in the water samples.
While PAHs are feared to be carcinogenic, exposure to large amounts of PCBs can cause skin conditions such as acne and rashes. High levels of trihalomethanes can also be dangerous and lead to cancer and other health issues.
“It is not possible for the PMC to carry out these tests on its own. The PMC will send the water samples to NEERI to run tests for pesticides, PCBS, PAHS and Trihalomethanes. The Gross alpha and Gross beta tests will be done at BRIT in Navi Mumbai,” said Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao.
The tests at NEERI cost Rs 11,700 while the ones at BRIT cost Rs 8,024, said Rao, adding that the civic administration will be allowed to pay for the tests twice a year.
The PMC draws raw water from Khadakwasla dam through a closed pipeline system and treats it at purification plants in different parts of the city, from where it is distributed to consumers through another extensive network of pipelines.
The civic body draws 1,350 million litres per day (MLD) to meet the drinking water needs of local residents.
The PMC will soon start drawing water from the Bhama Askhed dam. It also has plans to draw water from Mulshi dam to meet the drinking water supply of the increasing population of the city.