The Telegraph
Friday , May 16 , 2014
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Tests point to alkalinity
- Civic body holds high temperatures responsible for fish deaths; NGO finds increased pH level at Jayanti Sarovar

The rising level of alkalinity caused by huge presence of industrial and domestic sewage in Jayanti Sarovar could be the reason behind the recent fish deaths, indicated on-the-spot tests conducted by an NGO at the water body on Thursday.

Yugantar Bharti, which works to safeguard the environment and is accredited to Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, sent four staff from its lab to collect water samples from the 10-acre lake inside Jubilee Park under the supervision of NGO member and green crusader K.K. Sharma.

The environment NGO is conducting a parallel investigation into the deaths of 200 fish at the lake on May 5.

Pawan Kumar (lab assistant), Sanjiv Kumar Singh (lab analyst), Dipankar Karmakar (lab assistant) and Uday Mondal (sample taker) collected samples from four inlets to the lake and the lone outlet and carried out immediate tests to check the pH level and total dissolved solid (TDS) count.

While the pH level (measure of acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution) near the picnic spot inlet was 7.6, the reading at Old Court was 8.9, laser fountain 8.6 and Tata zoo end 7.6. The water at the outlet towards the zoo had a 7.6 pH level.

A solution is acidic when the pH level is less than 7 and alkaline when it is more than 7. Highly alkaline water is not good for aquatic life because of less presence of oxygen.

“We only carried out the pH level and TDS tests. The other tests for checking the nitrate level, residual chlorine, hardness of water and biological oxygen demand (BOD) will be conducted at our lab. A report on the basis of all the parameters will help us calculate the dissolved oxygen level in the water. Ideally, water bodies should have dissolved oxygen level of 4ppm (parts per million),” said Sharma, the head of the zoology department Jamshedpur Co-operative College.

He added that it would take 10 days to get the complete results, which would then form the basis of filing an intervention petition at the high court that has taken suo motu cognisance of the fish deaths.

Lab analyst Singh explained that a certain degree of alkalinity in a water body was natural and necessary.

“But when the pH level rises significantly above 7, it causes harm to aquatic organisms, even leading to death at times,” Singh warned.

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