Water contamination in Kochi flats: Residents allege attempt to bury test results

DLF apartment complex in Kakkanad. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kochi: The occupants of DLF apartment complex at Kakkanad here accused the residents association of deliberately hiding the test results that confirmed the presence of E.coli bacteria in the water pumped to the flats. The outbreak of water-borne disease at the apartment complex made headlines on Tuesday.  

Though the lab report dated May 29 confirmed the water contamination, the residents association leaders neither realised the seriousness of the issue nor informed the matter to the health and municipality officials, argued the people. The association made the report public only on June 13 following an outcry from the residents.

“In the last week of May, the residents association members informed us that the water level in the rainwater harvesting plant exceeded 80 per cent and this water will be pumped to the flats. We asked them to test the water to confirm that it was safe to consume. Though presence of E.coli bacteria was confirmed in the test, the association didn't inform us. Many of us started suffering from diarrhoea and nausea after using this water, complained a resident. 

The water treatment plant installed at the flat is not efficient in killing bacteria like E.coli. The residents have been demanding to install RO or UV plants. 

The number of people falling sick has been increasing day by day at the apartment complex. The health department rushed to the flat on Tuesday after health minster instructed for immediate action. 

On Tuesday, Adv Hareesh who confirmed the water contamination after sending the sample for a test on May 24 told Manorama News that over 400 people are affected. He added that the residents are facing a serious issue. Meanwhile, the residents association leaders claimed that there is no need to panic as water supplied to the flats should not be considered as the source of the viral infection.

The health department has started a special medical camp there to screen people with symptoms and provide medical care to the patients. Manorama News reported that among the aged people who contracted the viral infection, some are in critical condition.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Veena George warned of strict action against those who are involved in covering up the water contamination. She added that the department will take action under the Public Health Act. 

In view of the incident, the health department has initiated action for super chlorination of the water sources across the district.

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