Hyderabad water has phenols

Water Board denies Centre report; phenols come from sewage.

Hyderabad: Phenolic compounds have been found in drinking water samples, which were taken from Hyderabad by the Union consumer affairs ministry to test the standard of tap water being supplied by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

The HMWS&SB technical wing denied the report of the Union consumer affairs ministry, saying that tap water supplied by them is of good quality and their laboratory reports have never shown this compound. Phenolic compound is a residue of domestic sewage in water, and is found when water is contaminated by sewage. This occurs when sewage lines cross the drinking water lines.

The samples collected by the Union consumer affair ministry were checked on 11 parameters of the Indian Standards, IS 1050:2012. Amongst all these parameters, Hyderabad’s tap drinking water failed in one parameter – presence of phenolic compounds.

The other parameters involved checking for organoleptic and physical parameters for chemical, toxic substances, bacteriological quality and virological parameters.

A senior HMWS&SB official explained, “The pipelines are old. There are many points in the city where the sewage lines cross drinking water lines. In these conditions, contamination occurs. The pipelines are empty as water is supplied only on alternate days. Hence, there is a chance for contamination and it cannot be ruled out.”

But Mr Praveen Kumar, technical director of the Water Board, said, “We test over 2,000 samples on a daily basis from different points in the city. This type of report has not been detected before. The samples are tested in accredited laboratories. Extensive checking is carried out in areas where people have complained of contaminated water. From which points have the Union ministry taken samples? Was it drinking water supplied by HMWS&SB? Was it surface or bore water? We are not aware of this kind of sampling.”

The HMWS&SB claimed that they have a very robust system of monitoring the quality of drinking water. They demanded to be informed from where were these samples were taken.

The Union ministry is yet to write to the state government on the failed parameter as they insist that the solution to this problem is to make compliance of quality standards for piped water mandatory.

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