Bhubaneswar: How safe is the water we drink? If the latest water testing report released by the department of drinking water and sanitation of the Union ministry of Jal Shakti for 2019-20 released on Friday is any indication, drinking water is contaminated in 15 of the 30 districts in the state.
Of the 40 water sources in Balangir, about 32 habitations (samples) were found to have more than the permissible limit (1.5mg per litre) of fluoride. About 64 samples were tested in Boudh and 33 of them were found to be high in fluoride content.
The scenario is worse in Nuapada where 27 of the 28 samples were found to have crossed the permissible limit. As many as 52 water sources were tested in Kalahandi district, of which 24 samples were found to have more than the permissible limit of fluoride. Medicine specialist Dr K B Parida said, “High content of fluoride can cause fluorosis that weakens the teeth and bones.”
Keonjhar faces a health scare and so does Kandhamal. “All the 935 sources tested in Keonjhar were found to have iron exceeding the permissible limit of 1 mg per litre,” Abani Kumar Baral, technical manager, State Water Testing Laboratory, said.
In Mayurbhanj, the situation is quite alarming. All the 624 samples in the district were found to have exceeded the permissible limit of iron. As many as 890 of the 896 samples in Kandhamal were found to have more than the permissible limit of iron. Similarly, 668 of the 677 samples in Dhenkanal had a high iron content.
“High iron content lends a yellowish colour to water. It can cause constipation and liver diseases,” Dr J P Das, a medicine specialist, said.
As far as salinity in concerned, about 98 of the 270 samples in coastal Kendrapada were found to be contaminated. “The permissible limit of salinity is 1,000 mg per litre. About 54 samples of the 361 water sources tested in Puri — which has a long coastline — were found to have a high level of saline,” Baral said.
The permissible limit of nitrate is 45 mg per litre. In Nayagarh, about 23 of the 68 samples were found to have a high level of nitrate. In Khurda district, 15 of the 344 samples tested exceeded the permissible level. “The scenario is no better in Kalahandi either. About 12 of the 52 samples had a higher nitrate level,” a laboratory official said. “High salinity leads to high blood pressure. Excessive level of nitrate can also cause methemoglobinemia or ‘blue baby’ disease,” Das said.
“In Bhubaneswar, water sources like borewells in some pockets in the capital city, have recorded high iron and nitrate content,” Pramod Kumar Nayak, analyst, Public Health Laboratory at Palasuni here, said.
In a related development, the smart city of Bhubaneswar had secured the second position in a survey conducted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied to households in the country earlier this month. Mumbai had topped the chart for its most clean drinking water.