Is Goa’s potable water contaminated?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PANAJI - A Netherlands-based water treatment company has claimed that water supplied by the Goa government shows a high presence of coliform - a disease-causing bacteria. But officials denied the allegation, saying the company was triggering a public scare to peddle their water treatment product.

Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, technical director and chief representative of TwinOxide, told reporters that a sample of filtered water from the Khandepar river - one of the four main water sources for north Goa - contained as much as 240 MPN (most probable number) of coliform.

“The accepted levels are 10. This shows that the treatment of water is not up to the mark,” Ghosh said, providing the media with a copy of a report of laboratory tests carried out by a state government laboratory on the bacteriological examination of water samples from the Khandepar river.

Ghosh said the technique of chlorination, as a means of purifying water, had long outlived its usefulness and that various bacteria had grown resistant to the process.

He also claimed that water purified using TwinOxide, a water purifier, was far more cleaner and disinfected than water treated with chlorine.

“The water treatment industry has been looking for alternatives to replace the use of classical disinfectants like chlorine as it has increasingly been subject to criticism due to its numerous disadvantages and hazards,” Ghosh said, adding that two drops of TwinOxide disinfectant could purify a litre of water.

However, superintending engineer, PWD, V. Santhanam said water filtered from the Khandepar river and supplied to a sizeable chunk of people in north Goa was safe and potable.

“They (TwinOxide officials) are trying to create a public scare to sell their product. We draw 229 MLD (million litres per day) supply to north Goa. All of it is safe,” he said.

“Their figures show the presence of coliform in pre-chlorinated water,” Santhanam said.

He said the PWD would be writing to TwinOxide, seeking a clarification on how a test result from a government laboratory could be used as a marketing pitch.

Filed under: Environment

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