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Iron levels still high in Brahmaputra

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - A second round of test of the Brahmaputra waters by a team of IIT Guwahati has found that the water is still turbid and contains high iron, but experts are still clueless about the reason for the contamination.

The water was tested on December 14 and 15. Water is still turbid and contains high iron, Dr Sharad Gokhale, Professor of Environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Guwahati, told this newspaper.

Near Lothia Bagicha of IIT, the river water quality was: turbidity (NTU) 123, iron 6.69 mg/l, total coliform (organisms/ 100 ml) using MPN technique 1700. The limits of turbidity are 1 NTU and iron is 0.3 mg/l.

�In this season turbidity should have been much less�may be around 40 NTU. Silt has increased of late. It means on the upper side of Siang turbidity must be very high. Due to the turbidity iron has increased a lot. In a river we do not expect so much iron. Last week it was more. It has reduced much this week,� Gokhale added.

Earlier, the State�s PHE department had collected four samples of the Brahmaputra waters from near the water supply schemes at Sualkuchi, Amingaon and Bonda-Madhgharia area, and had sent them for tests at the IIT in the first week of this month.

The results of investigation said that the samples failed to meet the permissible limits as per IS: 10500-2012 in respect of turbidity and iron content. Three water samples also failed in chemical water quality parameter for ammonia.

�It may be inferred that the water samples are not suitable for drinking purposes unless suitable treatment is done,� the report stated.

The IIT team said that the cause of the whitish colour of the river water is due to its turbidity and �characterisation of the solids in the water needs to be investigated further.�

Meanwhile, in a representation to the President of India, Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia, while citing the Brahmaputra water test reports, said the contamination of the Brahmaputra has all the portents of a major ecological disaster in the making, and urgent remedial steps are required to prevent such an eventuality.

�Since this problem involves a sovereign country in the form of China, it can only be resolved with the active assistance of the Central government. However, it has become increasingly obvious that the Centre is content in providing mere lip-service and this strategy, in turn, is being imitated by the BJP-led government in Assam. It is a most disheartening state of affairs. The matter has been raised in Parliament, but the response given by the government created more doubt instead of laying apprehensions to rest,� he stated.

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Iron levels still high in Brahmaputra

GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - A second round of test of the Brahmaputra waters by a team of IIT Guwahati has found that the water is still turbid and contains high iron, but experts are still clueless about the reason for the contamination.

The water was tested on December 14 and 15. Water is still turbid and contains high iron, Dr Sharad Gokhale, Professor of Environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Guwahati, told this newspaper.

Near Lothia Bagicha of IIT, the river water quality was: turbidity (NTU) 123, iron 6.69 mg/l, total coliform (organisms/ 100 ml) using MPN technique 1700. The limits of turbidity are 1 NTU and iron is 0.3 mg/l.

�In this season turbidity should have been much less�may be around 40 NTU. Silt has increased of late. It means on the upper side of Siang turbidity must be very high. Due to the turbidity iron has increased a lot. In a river we do not expect so much iron. Last week it was more. It has reduced much this week,� Gokhale added.

Earlier, the State�s PHE department had collected four samples of the Brahmaputra waters from near the water supply schemes at Sualkuchi, Amingaon and Bonda-Madhgharia area, and had sent them for tests at the IIT in the first week of this month.

The results of investigation said that the samples failed to meet the permissible limits as per IS: 10500-2012 in respect of turbidity and iron content. Three water samples also failed in chemical water quality parameter for ammonia.

�It may be inferred that the water samples are not suitable for drinking purposes unless suitable treatment is done,� the report stated.

The IIT team said that the cause of the whitish colour of the river water is due to its turbidity and �characterisation of the solids in the water needs to be investigated further.�

Meanwhile, in a representation to the President of India, Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia, while citing the Brahmaputra water test reports, said the contamination of the Brahmaputra has all the portents of a major ecological disaster in the making, and urgent remedial steps are required to prevent such an eventuality.

�Since this problem involves a sovereign country in the form of China, it can only be resolved with the active assistance of the Central government. However, it has become increasingly obvious that the Centre is content in providing mere lip-service and this strategy, in turn, is being imitated by the BJP-led government in Assam. It is a most disheartening state of affairs. The matter has been raised in Parliament, but the response given by the government created more doubt instead of laying apprehensions to rest,� he stated.