The main source of water contamination in the Bhavani river is untreated sewage water.

First Karnataka now Tamil Nadu Toxic water brings dead fish to the shore in Mettupalayam
news Environment Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 16:42

Fresh horror awaited the residents of Mettupalayam on Sunday night, when they ventured out to the Vellipalayam Road in the city. Hundreds of dead fish were allegedly spotted on the banks of the Bhavani River and in a private well.

For years now, those who are supplied water from the river for their daily needs have been waging a war with the river's increasing toxicity. According to residents, sewage and chemical waste is dumped into the water on a regular basis. In addition to this, they claim that the sluices of barrages built in the river is opened only three to four times a day, allowing sewage to stagnate. 

On January 23, the National Human Rights Council had even issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu Government over the hazardous water supply from the Bhavani River in Mettupalayam.

The private well, where several fish were found dead, sources water from the Bhavani River and is situated in Polytechnic college. 

"The incident came to the notice of the Pollution Control Board on Monday morning. By then most of the fish on the bank of the river were washed away. It was all timed conveniently for them," says M Jayakumar, Joint Secretary, Save Bhavani Trust, a group that has been fighting against the pollution of the river. 

"The fish have died because production units of Saradha Teri products and United Bleachers Limited discharge their chemical waste in the water. Their factories are located just 200 mts from the river," he alleged.

The main source of water contamination, in the past, was found to be the discharge of sewage water from 28 canals in the municipalities and untreated water from industrial units. But according to the Save Bhavani Trust, the Pollution Control Board is turning a blind eye to this role of these companies in the pollution of the river. 

M Malaiyandi, district environmental engineer of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board told Times of India, “We also conducted tests on the spot and found that the dissolved oxygen level which should be minimum 4 mg/L was 2.1 mg/L in the river. This was mainly because of the sewage and other contaminants that were entering the river and getting stagnated near the barrage. Apart from that we also checked the dissolved oxygen level at Thekkampatti section, where another barrage was set up and there we found it was 8.21 mg/L.”

They had also reportedly checked the TDS levels and found that near the Karattumedu section, the level was at 135 mg/L and at Thekkampatti it was 150 mg/L. “As per norms upto 2100 mg/L was allowed and it should be below 500 mg/L for drinking purposes,” said Malaiyandi. This TDS level goes to prove that it is not the dissolved salts from the textile industry but the sewage from the municipality that is the main reason for contamination, he added.