Testing centre in Cauvery river gives pollution data

Scientists of KSPCB's constant water testing centre near Sathegala in Chamarajanagar district collect samples from River Cauvery. Photo by Special Arrangment

Alarmed by the pollution levels in River Cauvery, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has set up a constant water testing centre near Sathegala, Chamarajanagar district.

Amidst concerns by Tamil Nadu over the pollution in the river, KSPCB scientists have been monitoring the river water for 12 different parameters. The pollution watchdog has also directed all the local bodies through which the river flows to submit an action plan to prevent pollution of the river.

The pollution of the river has left Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at loggerheads ever since the Tamil Nadu government filed a petition before the Supreme Court in 2015, contending that Karnataka had failed to stop discharge of sewage and industrial effluents into the river.

Even though the testing centre was supposed to deploy the testing apparatus in the river in January 2018, the centre commenced operations only a couple of months ago and officers have been regularly monitoring the pollution levels.

“As per the government’s order, KSPCB has commissioned a realtime water monitoring system at Sathegala. This system is automatic and does not require any human intervention to get data. The data on pollution is displayed directly on our desktops every 15 minutes,” Lakshman, chairperson, KSPCB told DH.

Lakshman said, “We have directed all apartments in and around Cauvery river points in the state not to let sewage water directly into the river. We have directed residents not to dump garbage along the river banks.”

Apart from the major testing centre at Sathegala, the board is also operating 80 plus monitoring stations where the officials manually collect samples and get them tested in the laboratory. The government had previously slapped notices on local bodies of Ramanagar, Nanjangud and T Narasipur for letting sewage directly into the river and filed criminal cases against them.

The centre will test the water for 12 parameters - pH, conductivity, TDS, sulphate, chloride, temperature, DO, dissolved ammonia, biochemical oxygen demand, nitrates and colour.

“The testing centre at Sathegala will be monitored from a controlling unit located at the KSPCB office in Bengaluru and day-by-day data will be streamed on to a screen in KSPCB as well as at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It will also be linked to the wesbsite to provide information to the public,” Lakshman said.

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