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From Bangladesh archives
Rapid assessment programme begins next
Pipeline water in 100 municipalities to be tested
Implementation of a 4.9 million dollar 'Rapid Assessment Programme' starts next
week to test pipeline water in 100 municipalities in the country to detect presence of
The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) will implement the programme
within this year in cooperation with the Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply
The programme has been undertaken on an a emergency basis following a Daily Star report
on April 5 that high level arsenic-contaminated water was being supplied in
Chapainawabganj municipality since long.
Presence of high level (0.2 mg/L) arsenic was detected in pipeline water in the
municipality in 1998 but the authorities concerned kept it a secret, the report had said.
Under the programme, DPHE will collect water samples and test those in its zonal
Sources in BAMWSP said "the most reliable" atomic absorption
spectrophotometry method will be used in or the tests. Each test will cost between Tk 600
and 1000, they said.
The tests will be done under the 'urban component' of BAMWSP's programme which will
include collection of data about the sources of water in the municipalities.
Talking to this correspondent yesterday, BAMWSP Project Director Abdul Quader Choudhury
said, "If arsenic is found more than the permissible level (0.05 mg/L) in any well in
the municipalities, those will be shut down at once and alternative steps including
sinking deeper wells will be taken."
A guideline for testing and miti gation programmes has been approved by the World Bank,
the sources said.
In severely affected municipalities, water samples of hand-pumped tubewells will also
be tested and required manpower including NGO workers will be trained up to implement
mitigation programmes, they said.
Geo-hydrologists and geo-chemists, when contacted, said the level of other metallic
substances like fluoride, boron, magnesium etc. in ground water should also be tested
along with arsenic.
"Excess level of fluoride has been found in ground water in some areas of
Narayanganj district. Such excess level of metallic substances may be found in many areas
of the country, if tested. So it will be wise to go for testing other parameters in
drinking water", said a geo-hydrologist seeking anonymity.
There are 224 municipalities in the country and 100 of those have pipeline system to
supply water. ( The Daily Star )