Unregulated RO Plant boom sparks water purity concerns
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Unregulated RO Plant boom sparks water purity concerns

January 17, 2024

By Mohan Kayaka

Mysore/Mysuru: Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants, commonly known as ‘Pure water kiosks or Plants,’ have been increasing in the city. However, any lapse in maintenance or operation could pose life-threatening risks.

While water is indispensable for daily life, a concerning trend has emerged with individuals jeopardising the lives of others under the guise of providing purified drinking water. Purified water is crucial for preventing water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and giardiasis.

Establishing RO Plants is one of the Government’s initiatives to ensure the supply of purified water to the public. Unfortunately, some individuals exploit the situation by setting up RO Plants without obtaining the necessary licences. To guarantee water quality in these Plants, daily machinery inspections are imperative and water purifying filters should be replaced every 15 days. During the rainy season, filter replacement should occur at least once a week.

Maintaining water quality involves reducing total dissolved solids (TDS) content and ensuring the appropriate mineral quantity. The critical question is whether these precautionary measures are consistently followed by those operating RO Plants.

Flouting regulations?

According to norms, RO Plants must adhere to the criteria set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Government. However, private entities are flouting regulations by installing RO units in front of houses, shelters, cellars and shops, conducting brisk business.

Setting up RO Plants in the city requires mandatory permission from the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and a valid trade licence.

Regrettably, many private entities are establishing RO Plants without the necessary permissions and neglecting water quality maintenance.

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An officer from Vani Vilas Water Works (VVWW), the water supply division of the MCC, stated, “We lack the authority to inspect private RO Plants.

Action can be taken only if higher authorities issue directives. Currently, approximately 120 RO Plants operate within the MCC jurisdiction, with a designated agency responsible for their maintenance. Industries supplying water in large quantities must obtain permission from the BIS and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to establish their businesses.”

Need for daily monitoring

Jagadish from Aqua Green Water Solutions, the agency tasked with maintaining MCC’s RO Plants, emphasised the need for daily monitoring.

A technical team ensures regular inspections, with water purifier filters replaced every fortnight. During the rainy season, weekly filter replacements are implemented when borewell water may be contaminated.

To address increased salinity, antiscalants, considered food-grade additives, are used to maintain magnesium and calcium levels, ultimately extending the lifespan of RO membranes, he added. The maintenance process incurs costs, with Rs. 3,500 allocated for checking water quality and Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 for replacing each filter in 1,000-litre capacity RO Plants.

Technicians are hired for this purpose. It is crucial to monitor whether private RO Plants adhere to these standards and obtain a lab report on the water quality supplied at these facilities, according to Jagadish.

Water expert H. Ramesh underscored the importance of water purity, expressing concern that in the pursuit of purification, water is being wasted at RO Plants. He questioned whether routine inspections by relevant authorities were being conducted at these facilities.

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MCC Commissioner Ashaad-Ur-Rahman Shariff assured strict action against private RO Plants established without necessary permissions. Additionally, permissions may be revoked in cases of inadequate maintenance at these Plants.

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