By Ifham Nizam
President Maithripala Sirisena took take up the matter on Tuesday when he visited Jaffna. He told the officials present that the issue of water pollution had to be taken very seriously and everything possible done to remedy the situation and prevent contamination.
CEA Chairman Professor Lal Dharmasiri told The Island that tests had been conducted on more than quarter of samples and his institution was concerned about the situation though there was no need for panic.
However, Prof. Dharmasiri added that no final decision could be made until the release of the report the following week. Tests took about five hours each. There were separate investigations conducted by the Disaster Management Centre, he added.
On the instructions of Prof. Dharmasiri, a special team of the CEA visited Jaffna to investigate the areas affected by alleged oil contamination in the last week of February.
The team led by the Director Environment Pollution Control Division and the Director Laboratory service and their staff were joined by the staff of CEA Northern Provincial Office to carry out investigations on ground water pollution due to oil contamination. The water samples were collected from schools, temples, house-hold wells and agro wells in Uduvil, Telippalai and Kopay Divisional Secretariat Divisions for analysis.
Earlier water samples were collected from suspected oil contaminated wells and investigation was done by the CEA. Investigation report was prepared by the Deputy Director General of Environmental Pollution Control Division and submitted to the Mallakam Magistrate Court recently.
Meanwhile, the Northern Power Company Ltd. denied the allegation that they were responsible for the groundwater contamination. They said the so-called ‘oil lake’ created by the previously state-run power plant may have caused contamination.
The ‘lake’ contained a lot of oil and as indicated by the Google maps taken over a period of time and the images had been presented to court, the company said. Subsequently around 2012 the area was filled with earth and a new substation was built by the government on that location.
The newly established government owned power plants, ‘Uthuru Janani’ and ‘Northern Power’ are to provide electricity to the Jaffna peninsula.