Article courtesy of TNN | November 19, 2014 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material
VADODARA: Contaminated water from a borewell had claimed the lives of two persons and led to a gastroenteritis and cholera outbreak at Sankheda in Chhota Udepur district last week. The source of water contamination in Sankheda was found after checking water samples from the three borewells that supplied drinking water to the area.
The contaminated borewell has been closed by the authorities. The remaining two borewells presently supply drinking water to the residents with water tankers supplying the deficit.
District authorities collected 165 water samples from 68 spots along the water supplying pipeline following the sudden surge in cases of gastroenteritis last week. High levels of bacterial contamination were found in the samples taken from one of the borewells.
“The levels of infectious bacteria were dangerously high in the water. A drainage pipe near the borewell was found to be broken. The water from the drainage pipe seeped into the water causing the contamination. We have repaired the drainage pipe but the water in the borewell has been declared unfit for consumption after the tests,” said deputy sarpanch of Sankheda Nitin Shah.
Shah admitted, “There is no denying that these pipelines were installed years ago and need regular maintenance. We failed to identify the breakage in the drainage pipe and it led to the severe ailments.”
During the inspection three other leakages were found in the water pipelines from the other two borewells. “A few other leakages were found and have been repaired. As a measure of precaution, we have decided to replace all the valves in these pipelines because many of these leakages began at joints with the valves falling apart,” Shah added.
A fourth borewell will be dug in the area on Wednesday. “With only two borewells, the area is facing a water shortage since the last week. We have employed water tankers to supply water to the residents. But for solving the problem permanently, the administration has decided to dig another borewell. A new network of pipeline will be established from the new borewell,” said Shah.
Sankheda reported over 450 cases of gastroenteritis and 19 cases of cholera after a bacterial infection from the contaminated water over four days starting from November 11. Gastroenteritis also claimed two lives. Ramila Tadvi (42) died in Sankheda and Iftiyak Hussain Belim (28) died at SSG Hospital of acute dehydration.
“The administration has agreed on regular inspection of the pipelines to avoid such a situation in the future. The situation is under control with no new cases of gastroenteritis and cholera coming in. Many of the patients have already been discharged,” Shah said.