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Faecal bacteria in drinking water at Trichy airport, bus stand: Officials take action

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A day after TOI exposed the presence of faecal bacteria in water supplied through public taps at Trichy international airport and the central bus stand, city corporation officials installed a water tank next to the reverse osmosis (RO) plant at the Coimbatore bay of the bus stand as a temporary measure. At the airport, officials took samples from five RO points and sent them for testing.

Though city corporation officials told TOI that the faulty RO unit at the bus stand was being refurbished, samples were yet to be collected for proper inspection. Meanwhile, the label "purified water" continues to adorn the RO unit at the bus stand. Nothing could be farther from the truth, judging by the laboratory test of samples collected by TOI detecting the presence of coliform group of bacteria. Both RO units in the bus stand near the Coimbatore bay and the Dindigul bay are used by a lot of travellers who believe the water is indeed pure. But neither of the RO units is functioning and surprisingly, even the entire RO mechanism is missing.

Even when TOI visited the RO unit whose sample was found unhygienic by the Regional Public Health Water Analysis Laboratory, the potable water tap had no connection to the RO unit. Instead, the source was a pipeline emerging from sub surface. Post the expose, even corporation officials were unsure about the source of water for the RO unit, underlining the extent of official apathy in providing clean water to the public.
"We have been routinely inspecting the quality of water in OHTs. The RO plant in the central bus stand was in faulty condition, Subsequently, corporation workers were told to refurbish the RO system. For the time being, we have arranged temporary water through a tank," corporation commissioner N Ravichandran said.
A senior Airports Authority of India official said officials of the engineering wing at Trichy International Airport initiated steps to ascertain whether the water available through the public taps was contaminated.
"We conducted the 'total dissolved solid' test and got the value below 50, though the acceptable value is below 100. However, we have sent the sample collected from five RO points, including the one from where TOI collected samples, at the airport for testing. We decided to send it to the same lab where TOI sent the samples," he said.

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