Hyderabad's water has deadly faecal bacteria, says report

Samples picked up from 20 divisions of the Water Board earlier this month show contamination.

Hyderabad: High presence of Euscheria coli bacteria has been found in drinking water at Alwal and Saroornagar, according to a water quality report from the Institute of Health Systems for March 2016.

The two areas have an E. coli count of 1,600 per 100 ml of water, while many other areas have varying counts. E. coli is expelled into the environment within faecal matter, both from humans and animals. Drinking water is contaminated when sewage comes in contact with it.

Some virulent strains of E. coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. E coli infections also cause abdominal cramps and diarrhoea that could turn bloody and sometimes lead to fever.

Out of 688 km Water Board pipelines, 324 km is old. It is through the damaged pipelines that water contaminated with bacteria enters the drinking water. In many areas, consumers receive water with turbidity, smell, hardness and even color change.

“Cross mixing of drains with drinking water pipelines is the main factor for the presence of E. coli. The main source of bacteria is from human faecal matter. Core areas of the city have old networks. If there is any leakages in joints, water could get polluted,” said Mr S.V. Ramana Rao, general manager of the Water Board’s quality and analyses unit.

E. coli can be identified only through analyses. Samples are daily picked up and quality test is conducted. If contamination is found, the division general manager is asked to carry out rectification, he said.

When the board authorities identify pollution in water, they stop supply on a temporary basis, or send out advisory to filter or boil the water.

“Primarily it is human faecal presence that leads to E. coli being built up while other sources include mixing of pond water which has E. coli through other organisms,” said Dr C. Srinivasulu, assistant professor, zoology, at Osmania University.

Contamination is more during the rainy season, he said adding that it was surprising to see it during the summer. “In this case, 99 percent the drinking water line has been mixed with sewerage,” he said.

E. coli belongs to a group of bacteria known as coliforms that are found in the gastrointestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. E. coli colonises an infant’s gastrointestinal tract within 40 hours of birth, arriving with food from the people handling the child.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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