Drinking water supplied by Railways has bacteria found in human waste


Drinking water supplied by Railways at its stations is contaminated with bacteria found in human waste and the process is on to rectify this.

Railways, in response to a petition on train and platform water in the Delhi High Court recently, admitted that drinking water supplied by it at platforms is contaminated with bacteria found in human waste.

When asked to comment on this, a senior railway official said, “We have revised the procedure and the quality control system from July and new rules have been enforced so there is no scope of any contaminated water being supplied now.”

According to the earlier monitoring procedure, the presence of up to 10 units of thermotolerant coliform bacteria (TCB) in 100 ml samples was considered as being ?permissible?.

A study conducted by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization (CPHEEO) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) revealed that the process of chlorination, which is necessary to kill harmful bacteria, is not being done at Delhi, Ghaziabad, Varanasi and Ambala water supply units.

TCB count in 2013 and 2015 indicated bacterial presence ranging from 12 per cent to 40 per cednt in many places. The Indian Railways Medical Manual (IRMM) says the presence of 10 units of TCB in a 100ml water sample is permissible.

But, the Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol (UDWQMP) does not permit the presence of even one unit of TCB.

All railway zones have been advised to follow the revised system for supplying drinking water, the official said.

The Thermotolerant Coliform Bacteria (TCB) can cause acute gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, dysentery, and tummy cramps.

However, Northern Railway spokesperson said drinking water provided at stations and colonies are completely safe for consumption as railways does not allow compromise on water quality. He said the revised procedures will be gradually implemented in the entire system.