ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of Islamabad residents may have consumed unsafe water from filtration plants in the city, as a new report has declared the water from five plants unsafe for human consumption.

According to an Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) official, the corporation’s water quality control cell central engineering laboratory tested 12 plants between Jan 10 and Jan 12. He said the test found that water from filtration plants in I-10 Markaz, Mangal Bazaar I-9, Margalla Town, the Awan-i-Sadar Colony and F-6/1 was unsafe for drinking purposes.

However, the official added that water from the remaining tested plants, on the I-10 greenbelt, at Parliament Lodges, the Bari Imam Complex, Minister Enclave, Noor Qadeemi Mosque G-7/3, G-9 and G-10 was safe.

The tests included bacterial analyses from coliform bacteria, fecal coliform and E coliform. The MCI had closed down all of the city’s water filtration plants for over a week, in order to change their filters and chlorinate the water. The corporation reopened 33 out of 37 plants during the first week of January.


MCI report finds unsafe water at plants after chlorination, changes in equipment


When contacted, Water Supply Director Said Badshah said: “Currently, we are not allowing residents to take water from these five plants. We have changed filters and other equipment; a few days ago, a new test was taken and results are awaited.”

In response to a question, Mr Badshah said there are a total of 37 plants, of which seven are closed due to serious issues and the five in question have been closed temporarily.

The spokesperson for the MCI and Capital Development Authority (CDA), Mazhar Hussain, said the local government is paying attention to the water filtration plants.

“The laboratory report itself proves how serious we are [about ensuring] clear drinking water, as we conducted the test,” he said, and added that there would be no compromise on the quality of drinking water.

Following the formation of the local government, the directorate of water supply – which looks after the city’s water filtration plants – has been devolved from the CDA to the MCI.

A private contractor was previously running 37 filtration plants in Islamabad’s residential sectors, but the MCI decided to operate the plants itself after the contract expired. However, the cash-strapped corporation has received complaints of contaminated water since the contract expired.

The MCI last month closed down all the city’s filtration plants to change their filters and chlorinate the water.

According to Waqar Khan, a Rawalpindi resident who visits the G-7 filtration plants regularly to collect water, the MCI’s decision to conduct the tests was a “good sign”.

“But the issue is, we have been hearing for the last several years that some filtration plants are providing safe water and others [are not] – why are the city managers not coming up with a proper solution,” he asked.

Published in Dawn January 23rd, 2017

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