Pattawila residents forced to drink oil – mud emulsion: Authorities ‘purifying’ allegations?

Pattawila residents forced to drink oil – mud emulsion: Authorities ‘purifying’ allegations?

Pattawila residents forced to drink oil – mud emulsion: Authorities ‘purifying’ allegations?

Written by Lahiru Fernando

07 Jun, 2017 | 6:01 pm

Water purification plants – they are a solution to purifying unclean water for consumption. However, that is hardly the case at present for the water produced by the plant in Pattiwila, Biyagama.

Residents living around the water purification plant in Pattiwila claim that the water produced by the plant emits a foul odour, is muddy and tastes like oil.

What could possibly be the cause? We decided to investigate.

The Pattiwila ela is the water way which carries water into the purification plant in Pattiwila. When our team reached the location, there was a black viscous substance mixing with the water, in close proximity to the plant’s pumping station.

The Chief Incumbent of the Sri Shailarama Purana Viharaya, Beragama say that there is a layer of black oil on the Pattiwila paddy fields during every flood. “..That layer of oil is still there ..” said Chief Incumbent Ven. Beragama Ariyadeva thero

We travelled in search of the source of the oil leak and our journey took us close to the boundaries of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery.

According to residents, the oil pipeline comes from within the CEYPETCO. “They take oil from here, whatever they throw away washes down here with the waste water. This has been the way since this plant began ..” said a resident.

Another local said that all the oil is released into the Kelani River. “we cannot even drink the water in our wells because there is a layer of oil ..”

When we spoke to the Water Plant’s manager Ruwan Wijeykoon, he said that the situation arises from time to time but assured that steps have been taken over the matter.

Wijekoon said the canal was shut down on Monday, June 5, and the waste release into the Kelani River has been cut down completely.

“..We are using pumps to ensure that this does not contaminate the water flowing into the intake of the water plant. The situation with regard to the odor of the water has reduced and we assure the public that the situation will return to normal by tomorrow..” he added.

Central Environmental Authority Investigates

The CEA has launched investigations into the allegations of water being unsuitable for consumption.

CEA’s Environmental Pollution Control Division say that water samples have been gathered already and are being tested at laboratories.

The quality of water

However, despite the  claims made by local residents and the and ongoing investigations, National Water Supply and Drainage Board General Manager Deepthi Sumanasekara says that there was “no question regarding the quality of the water.”

Sumanasekara refuted claims made by consumers on allergies that are said to have occurred following the consumption of the water in question.

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The People’s Voices

“.. there are many workshops and factories in this village as well as the next village, there is a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPETCO) plant, a CEB plant as well as garments. All this is because of waste produced by them ..”

“.. We cannot drink this water, it is disgusting. I believe this is because of waste from the CEYPETCO ..”

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