all summer, tankers supply water to upmarket Srinagar, but they don't meet safety norms. They are filled at Iqbal Park filling station with the help of pressure filters, which don't meet norms set by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation and the Union ministry of urban development.
The manual on water supply and treatment issued by the Public Health Engineering Department (phed) makes it clear that it is difficult to clean the sand, gravel and under-drains of pressure filters. So, it does not recommend this system for community water supplies, particularly large ones.
The water is supplied to around 50,000 people for some months. Lalded Hospital, the leading maternity centre in Kashmir valley, also uses this water.
Water samples have not been tested so far. Some engineers in the phed department say tests would have shown contamination. In addition to this, the huge content of iron and other elements makes filtered water at Iqbal Park unsafe for drinking purposes.
The department set up an iron removal plant at the park but it has been defunct for a long time now. They claimed it was the failure of the iron removal plant that necessitated the use of pressure filters. Doctors are worried. "In the absence of proper filtration of water the people are likely to suffer from water borne diseases like diarrhoea, infective hepatitis and gastroenteritis," says Malik Abdul Rashid, a physician.
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