24 October, 2017

Water Pollution At Chunnakam & Surrounding Areas

By Murali Vallipuranathan

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan

Hon. Mr. P.Ayngaranesan
Minister of Agriculture
Northern Province

2nd April 2015

Dear Mr. Ayngaranesan,

Since you have stated in your mail (pasted below) that “Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan is free to contact us direct, rather than through others, and we will certainly provide him the information he needs. “ I am writing to you as follows:

1. I have already sent an open letter on 20th February 2015 to Hon. Chief Minister of the Northern Province on the Chunnakam water pollution issue which was widely reported in the media. In response to my letter the Private Secretary of the Chief Minister Mr. A. Suntharalingam informed me that the Chief Minister wanted to meet me on 13th March 2015 and the exact time for the meeting would be conveyed to me after consulting you because the Chief Minister wanted your presence at this meeting. However, to date Mr. Suntharalingam neither called me confirming a meeting with the Chief Minister nor informed me that this matter is referred to you. If you are not fully aware of the contents of my letter to Chief Minister please see a copy of my letter is attached herewith. I still look forward to have a meeting with you and the Chief Minister on this issue.

Chunnakam water2. It is incorrect to imply that I have tried to contact you through third parties abroad. All I wrote to Dr. K.Rajaram was about the field equipment FROG 4000 funded by him and other diaspora members believing that it would help the affected people in Chunnakam to get relief and certainly not to clear the Northern Power Company from the charges it faces for polluting the environment disregarding the law. I wanted this equipment to be tested in some of the visibly polluted wells in the region with utmost transparency and that to be video recorded so that those who are not present also will come to know the truth.

3. I do respect the learned members of your expert committee as experts though not all are in the relevant fields to deal with this pollution issue. However, I disagree with the composition of the expert committee and the findings of the expert committee for the following reasons. Firstly a member of your expert committee is having a serious conflict of interest because he was serving as a consultant to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). CEB is the main respondent in this pollution issue because of their role in hiring the Northern Power Company (Private) Limited for the production of electricity and whether they had monitored the said private company following the standards and regulations with regard to the environmental safety is in question. Secondly the heavy metal analysis of your expert committee was based on the reports obtained from the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI). This institute has a serious conflict of interest because it is based on their reports the Northern Power Company (Private) Limited continue to renew their license to operate. I believe no sensible person will trust the final report of your expert committee if these conflicts of interest are divulged.

4. I hope you are fully aware of the situation that the Northern Power Company (Private) Limited had already hailed the interim report of your expert committee as it would help them to lift the ban imposed on the power generation. I am afraid in the event that justice is not meted to the affected people by your expert committee and the provincial government they would seek justice at a higher court and probably you and your provincial government will be made as co-respondents because of the misleading report of your expert committee.

5. Though your team was collecting samples in front of the Health Ministry Officials they have not seen how the testing was done and even not sure whether the same samples were used to produce the results. That is why I had asked Dr.K. Rajaram to provide an opportunity with transparency to do the sampling and testing in front of us with video recording so that everybody can know the truth.

6. I had arranged through the Health Ministry to examine samples from the wells in a wide geographical location from 4 Medical Officers of Health areas (Uduvil, Kopay, Tellipalai and Sandilipai) and sent samples from 25 wells to the Government Analyst Department. All the 25 samples tested in their high quality laboratory had shown evidence of high levels of oil and grease. Under these circumstances what is the need for your expert committee to confuse the people with the results from a field equipment and state that no toxic compounds were found in these wells. Are you suggesting to the people to drink from the wells that are visibly polluted with petroleum products? I have attached photographs taken by me from 3 visibly polluted wells for you to have a look if you have not seen a visibly polluted well and smelled the bad odour emanating from them yet.

Awaiting your early response.

Thank you

Dr.Murali Vallipuranathan
MBBS, PGD (Population Studies), MSc, MD (Community Medicine), FCCP
Board Certified Specialist in Community Medicine

 

From: Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan <ayngaranesan59@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:27 PM
Subject: FROM AYNGARANESAN
To: Jey Surier <jeysurier@yahoo.com>, KP Sivakumaran <kp.sivakumaran@gmail.com>, veerasingam puvi <puvi_38@msn.com>,pragash02@gmail.com, Thahaval Nilaiyam <bala.vigneswaran@hotmail.com>
Cc: atpu@ee.pdn.ac.lk, “deaneng@jfn.ac.lk” <deaneng@jfn.ac.lk>, raveendranlk@yahoo.com, tjayasingam@gmail.com, nalinak@yahoo.com,kvelauthamurty@yahoo.com, kvels@jfn.ac.lk, csinian@gmail.com, NPIrrigation Irrigation <irrigationnp@yahoo.com>
Dear all,
In recent times I have been following the email dialogue among our friends.

Though I wished to respond immediately, time was always a constraint.

Dr. Puvi along with his son visited us and learned the actual ground situation. Dr. Sivakumar from Australia and Mr. Sutharshan from Singapore too did so.We will always be grateful to them

Unfortunately some from abroad do not have a clear picture of the reality. They just transmit the information they get from here.

Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan is free to contact us direct, rather than through others, and we will certainly provide him the information he needs.

Those who do not wish to accept our research findings have so far not honestly contacted us.

We on many occasions have invited those in doubt to discuss issues with the Expert Committee. If they wished to know the truth they would have certainly responded.

We cannot awake those who pretend to be sleeping.

To me, it does not appear right that they contact us through a third party from abroad. This, in a way, I believe is disrespecting our Expert Committee.

They are telling a blatant lie that we do the sampling in secrecy. We inform the Medical Officer of Health, Uduvil prior to the sampling and he sends representatives from the Health Department to join our team.

Hence, in this context, should anyone contact you, please advise them to contact us direct.

It will be appropriate that the Expert committee appointed by the provincial council release the final report. The local courts will accept the report of the Expert committee working at ground level.Therefore we would be glad you if you send your report to our expert committee . They will include your report quoting you as reference.
Thanking you

P.Ayngaranesan

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Latest comments

  • 10
    7

    Thank you Murali for your efforts to get good quality water to the residents of the Northern Province.

    • 2
      6

      Yeah yeah… ask him to release his results before showering him with those praises…

    • 5
      6

      I agree with you and wish to thank Dr Murali also.

      There is a lot of confusion and suspicion here on all the sides.

      I suggest that independent outsiders are brought in to test the wells again. It will cost but the inhabitants of Jaffna have the right to know about the quality of their water, government servants and politicians.

      If I remember correctly Northern Power Company (Private) Limited has the necessary license from the CEA to operate. Wasn’t the CEA supposed to keep an eye on Northern Power Company (Private) Limited and visit them every 3 (or 6) months? Have they done this but never noticed possible water contamination despite that complaints and rumors have been circulating during years? Didn’t the former GA register this problem some years ago? Why was nothing done? Does the CEA not test water?

      To my best knowledge nobody has denied that there was an “oil lake” before Northern Power took over from the CEB. This oil lake has vanished. Did the CEB not have a CEA permit? Did the CEA not keep an eye on CEB? What happened to the oil lake?

      I suspect that the CEB and CEA have created this problem if there is one.

  • 4
    9

    Dear Mr Murali,

    I have been following the issue of the oil pollution and Jaffna water issues. You seem to have lost your balance in it and more focused on the Northern Electrical than the people themselves. There are many errors in your argument and rationale. Please see the article by DR Arulanantham in the CT where he gracefully addressees the issues.

    a) You claim that analysis showed that 4 wells out of 50 had lead in them and to close them. Who sampled the wells for you? Are you sure they did not mix the samples? Are you sure whether their grand uncle has no grievances to the Northern Power?
    Have you tried sampling these wells again and rechecking?
    How and why do you refute the results of the ITI, the most advanced laboratories in the country in relevance to checking of heavy metals?

    b) you say that 25 samples you took ( was it on video) had fat and oil and grease in all samples ( did you video the analysis. Do you know that fats, oil and grease includes so many components that you could have the values without any petroleum compounds in it? Do you know that ordinary cooking oil, soap, disintegrating leaves, algae in water could increase the value of fats and oil in water? How could you say that it was contaminated with petroleum products and also definitely not from petrol station etc. You are bluffing.

    c) The expert committee had only made two statements in the press. They did not have any BTEX compounds ( petroleum based compounds Benxene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene) in the 40 samples they tested using FROG 4000. They stated that there was no evidence of any heavy metals in the 40 samples tested by ITI. How can you refute this. FROG 4000 is an instrument that measures the samples to PPB level and your claim that the instrument is inaccurate would be considered as insane or fantasy. You claim on doubt on ITI would only be a JOKE. If you need the experts to review their results there is a way to address such issues, which is fair.

    d) Your accusations on the expert committee is flawed from your own perspectives and skewed mindset and queries your integrity as a professional.

    You seemed bent on accusing the power persons and less on the interest of the people. You are using your designation in the Medical Association for your own argument without any rationale.

    It raises a serious question whether you have any personal interest in the process of distribution of water bottles in the town as you refuse to accept when fresh samples taken by water board are free from oil and grease.
    I also have a query on the photo? Is it a possibility that someone poured oil into this well before the photograph?

    It is in the interest of the public that you remain a professional with rationale and not emotions and accusations of those that you have no proof of. Further do not damage the name of the profession and the Medical Association which have reputations.

  • 9
    7

    Dr.Vallipuranathan,

    Thanks for presenting the facts and the ground situation. A ‘ Deadly’ serious issue is apparently being trivialised and politicized. PC minister Aiyingaranesan’s response is unacceptable and repulsive. Please do what you can to identify the source of contamination and the extent accurately. If the NPC is unable to take the lead, please get further help of the central government authorities and laboratories.

    Please keep us informed of developments, as any future report by the so-called expert committee will be doubted, based on what you have revealed.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 4
    7

    This is pure scaremongering! We have to place our trust in people at some point. The point on conflict of interest is understandable, but asking the samplers and the lab analysts to bring a video camera along is ludicrous!!!

    The learned doctor says that “All the 25 samples tested in their high quality laboratory had shown evidence of high levels of oil and grease. Under these circumstances what is the need for your expert committee to confuse the people with the results from a field equipment and state that no toxic compounds were found in these wells”. But, who picked up those wells for sampling? Who took the videos from sample collection to presentation of results? ow come that the elephant has one rule, but the very elephant demands the cat to follow another?

    What are the concentrations of oil and grease anyway(we know from the doctor’s letter that ‘they have shown evidence of high levels of oil and grease)? Since the learned doctor ARRANGED the sample collection, why does he not releasing the results of the tests? Also, the doctor can tell us what the health guideline, so that we could assess the situation against the guideline.

  • 5
    5

    “apparently being trivialised and politicized”?

    Really politicised!! There are academics, politicians and doctors in the game. Yes. But, there are some who try to use this opportunity to settle some scores. They know who they are.

  • 3
    5

    Dr. Murali,
    I don’t think writing articles in CT and responding through intermediaries won’t help to resolve the issues. Water problem is a real issue and all have to work together to find solution to this problem. I think you should contact CM and arrange a meeting and discuss the issues and work together. Don’t politisize it.

    • 4
      0

      Ajith,

      “I don’t think writing articles in CT and responding through intermediaries won’t help to resolve the issues. Water problem is a real issue and all have to work together to find solution to this problem. I think you should contact CM and arrange a meeting and discuss the issues and work together. Don’t politisize it.”

      Did not Dr Murali ask for a meeting with the CM and even publish his letter on CT some time ago? Hasn’t he been waiting for the meeting during some weeks because the CM wants Mr Ayngaranesan to also attend?

      I believe that Dr Murali is publishing his letters here to FORCE our CM and Mr Ayngaranesan to reply. Excellent idea! Media attention might make our politicians do something about the problem. Of course it would be even more effective to publish the letters in our local Jaffna newspapers but they might refuse to do it.

  • 7
    4

    In my opinion is that, every one, living the Jaffna peninsula, are directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the drinking water quality and our environment.

    1.Suppose there are, on average, about 50000 vehicles (mortar cycles, autos, cars, jeeps, vans, mini buses, CTB buses, military vehicles, tractors, trucks, lorries ect.) in the peninsula; on average if 10 L waste oil was collected from each vehicle per year, then 50000 x 10 x 50 = 25,000,000L waste oil would had been collected during the oil change for the past 50 years. Where did this oil go? Did this 25 million L oil was dumped into the environment (probably on the ground). This may also results the oil and heavy metal contamination in the well water.

    2. House owners builds their septic tank their toilet very close to the drinking water well of his neighbour and resulting a high level of E-coli in water.

    3. Farmers apply large amount of fertilizers to their plants resulting high level of nitrate in the drinking water. Large amount of pesticide are applied to the plantation is resulting air polluted air and carried forward into our food.

    4.Now we are blaming the Chunnakam power station; why we haven’t blamed them when there is no electricity available from south (Lakshabana) few years ago?

    5.Many wells are now changed to salt water and why activist are silent about it.

    6.Farmers are withdrawing a large amount of water from the wells; is there any set limit for this withdrawal; can the farmers withdraw any amount of water until all well water become salty.

    7.Why administers/ politicians haven’t set any by-laws to protect our environment.

    8.The oil in the well water can be disappeared in 6 months by physical, chemical and biological processes. If someone is repoting a result obtained 6 months ago may have changed now. Physical: evaporation by heat and wind; chemical: by excess nitrate and other oxidizing agents (thanks to the farmers to add nitrates to the water; in many places nitrates are pumped into the water to removed dissolved hydrocarbons); Biological: many bacteria consume hydrocarbon as their food. Possibly oil was present originally and no wonder they disappeared by physical, chemical and biological degradation. This natural degradation process will continue, without waiting for the activists, administrators and politicians settle their issues.

    • 3
      4

      We live in a crazy world. Puvi gives out a set of concise, objective and logical answers, and raises questions. But, he gets two thumps down and no thump ups. I can’t see a single reason to get a thump down other than the biassed minds of those readers. These people have to grow some brains. Now I see why people like the learned doctor is keep going with his verbal cholera.

      Interestingly, Puvi posted his comment twice, and the brainy ones went to the other comment and put their thumps down. May I politely challenge those thump-downers to say two reasons – no no one will be enough – why this comment deserves a thump down. Feel free, however, to thump down my comment!! God save the Tamil people!!!

      I am told that there is a strong rumour in Jaffna that a medical doctor, who wanted to become the secretary of the Health Ministry but was denied, is among the leading critics. He wanted to hit out the Provincial Council, and has got a great vehicle. Is that true?

    • 0
      0

      Dear Puvi,

      1. Do you think the issues you highlighted in 1, 2, and 3 are confined to only Jaffna or North or just to Sri Lanka. Those problem exist everywhere in the developing world and except the point 2, the issues (1 and 3) is found in across the globe. So it is not unique to Jaffna or North. Please bring up any specific issue to your argument.

      2. I need some more clarification on point 4 to answer, what do you really mean before agreeing or disagreeing with you.

      3. For the point 5, I agree to some extent with you but it is more on our biophysical nature and to some extend attributed by climate change, which we have to blame for all global residence.

      4. For point 6, again this problem is encountered by entire Globe and various governments putting their resources control this problem but not succeeded. But New Zealanders are doing some fabulous work through “Transferable permits and other means – a well developed natural resources economic framework”. I can provide more information if required. This issues is famously known as “Tragedy of Commons”. Anyone can surf the internet to find some good literature.

      5. For point 7, answering in your, you have to ask from your representatives in the politics but I value your point.

      6. For point 8, you say it disappears in 6 months if it is treated properly. Who is answerable for whatever consequences during this 6 months and its long term effects. What is the guarantee, one can expect in the future if the those parties who are expected to be liable for this problem, won’t repeat this problem.

      7. I finally want to express you that usually a problem is identified based on its severity, number of people affected and its short term and long term effects which I learnt it in Peradeniya from a well respected Prof. By bring some generic issues , not just confined to a specific location, we devalue the problem and change the focus but truth will has its final say in science or in common life. Hope you agree with me and looking forward any comments or concerns.

      Cheers
      Anpu

  • 7
    4

    In my opinion, every one, living the Jaffna peninsula, are directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the drinking water quality and environment.

    1.Suppose there are, on average, about 50000 vehicles (mortar cycles, autos, cars, jeeps, vans, mini buses, CTB buses, military vehicles, tractors, trucks, lorries ect.) in the peninsula; on average if 10 L waste oil was collected from each vehicle per year, then 50000 x 10 x 50 = 25,000,000L waste oil would had been collected during the oil change for the past 50 years. Where did this oil go? Did this 25 million L oil was dumped into the environment (probably on the ground). This may also results the oil and heavy metal contamination in the well water.

    2.House owners builds their septic tank of their toilet very close to the drinking water well of his neighbor and resulting a high level of E-coli in water.

    3.Farmers apply large amount of fertilizers to their plants resulting high level of nitrate in the drinking water. Large amount of pesticide are applied to the plantation is resulting air get polluted and carried forward into our food.

    4.Now we are blaming the Chunnakam power station; why we haven’t blamed them when there is no electricity available from south (Lakshabana), few years ago?

    5.Many wells are now changed to salt water and why activist are silent about it.

    6.Farmers are withdrawing a large amount of water from the wells; is there any set limit for this withdrawal; can the farmers withdraw any amount of water until all well water become salty.

    7.Why administers/ politicians haven’t set any by-laws to protect our environment

    8.The oil in the well water can be disappeared in 6 months by physical, chemical and biological processes. If someone is reporting a result obtained 6 months ago may have changed by now. Physical: evaporation by heat and wind; chemical: degradation by excess nitrate and other oxidizing agents (thanks to the farmers to add nitrates to the water; in many places nitrates are pumped into the water to removed dissolved hydrocarbons); Biological: many bacteria consume hydrocarbon as their food. Possibly oil was present originally and no wonder they disappeared now by physical, chemical and biological degradation. This natural degradation process will continue, without waiting for our activists, administrators and politicians settle their issues.

    • 1
      0

      Puvi,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Where does the lead and cadmium from used batteries go?

      The mercury from used bulbs goes where?

      Due to lack of recycling and ignorance batteries and bulbs are thrown away and all toxins washed down into our ground water that is very near surface.

      I believe that it is a criminal offense to pollute water in SL. Has anybody like the CEA made a police complaint about the Chunnakam problem?

      There are laws to protect our environment but they are not implemented.

      “House owners builds their septic tank of their toilet very close to the drinking water well of his neighbor and resulting a high level of E-coli in water.”

      There is regulation to control this but nobody to my best knowledge enforces that the distance between a septic tank and well is the required 10 meters. This is something for the Pradesha Sabha and Public Health Inspectors that come under the NPC.

    • 1
      0

      Puvi,
      I agree you have asked the right questions. Who you are expecting to respond?

      Under the current Srilankan constitution, ultimate responsibility falls on the Srilankan Government to provide clean water to its citizen. Central government is responsible to develop and enforce environmental guidelines across the island. Unfortunately, bad governance and irresponsibility of the successful Srilankan governments lead to the current environmental disaster in northern province.

      As usual, the issue is heavily politicized, ignoring the need of the people.

      Pls do not blame Jaffna people for this mess. They are the vulnerable population, leading miserable life, living under tremendous difficulties for the last few decades and slowly coming out of it. Do we expect them to care for the environment when there is no guarantee for their life and their basic rights are denied? For sure no.

      A comparable argument is that the western governments and their Corporations crying foul towards Africans for poaching animals in Africa, when those Africans are fighting for their each meal. If the quality of their life improve, all such illegal activities will eventually vanish from the surface.

      I hope Thamils’ will soon enjoy equal rights as other citizens in Srilanka, which lead to peace and freedom with dignity for them.

      • 1
        0

        Puvi is not blaming anyone. He is only emphasizing the importance of disposing of the pollutants correctly. Our future generation should learn to keep the environment clean. Other wise with the limited area we have we will be doomed. everyone should try to conserve the rain water. May be we should have small tanks(kulam)in every village.

  • 1
    1

    Here the real issue to monitor the quality of drinking water in Jaffna or any other affected areas.

    Do we have the best protocols to monitor the quality of drinking water?

    If not, correct it and use graduate students from local universities to collect the samples and analyze it.

    If someone has issues with the quality of results then explain the way the study was conducted. After all it’s all about Science.

    Don’t get it personal and learn to work as a team and respect each other. That is the hardest part for all of us from that region. Suck it up.

    No one is bigger than resolving the real issue that is the quality of drinking water!

  • 0
    0

    Dear all,
    I am asking only one question from all who denies there is no oil polution and believe the experts report.
    Any one of you, can ready to use that water for your daily needs including drinking and washing? and proof it then we will believe.
    First please provide pure drinking water to affected area and then proceed yourresearches.

    • 0
      2

      First, try to understand what the expert panel said. They said, BTEX or heavy metals were found below the level of detection in those wells. Nobody denied the potential for oil pollution, and the numbers were there to prove it.

      Woud I recommend anyone to drink that water? NO… Not because of the oil issue, but because of the nitrate, feacal contamination and calcium levels. Ask the learned doctor whether he would (take this as a challenge) recommend people to drink that water.

      Drinking water is supplied by bowser in the affected areas.

      If you start hearing the lie merchants, this is what you get :)

      • 0
        0

        Rohan,

        “Drinking water is supplied by bowser in the affected areas.”

        A liquid described as drinking water is provided in many areas of Jaffna not only in Chunnakam. What is the quality of the water and where does it come from? Does anybody test it?

        Where to find good water in Jaffna? I have heard that only some parts of Chunnakam have or HAD reasonably good water without too much salt.

        I know many people who refuse to drink the water coming in browsers or from a village level tank system because of bad taste and worries about the quality.

        I have seen browsers filled next to busy main roads and places where people dump their garbage. I would never drink water from wells located in places like that.

  • 1
    7

    In my point of view so called minister Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan and other so called experts should be forced to use the polluted water for their drinking and house hold purpose for more than one year. Then the people would be asked to use the water. That is a simple solution in this problem.

    I would like to raise few question on this matter:

    1. How many of them were experts in the water pollution problem?

    2. Dr Atputharasa is also expert in water pollution problem? To my best of my knowledge he is very much expert in hijacking problems in favor of his masters, e.g., with all nonsense, he and his cronies send letters to the UGC and public in favor the incumbent Jaffna University Vice-Chancellor. He might do the same hijacking in this problem as well. He is well known (problem) hijacker in the Jaffna University.

    3. Whether Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan had at least some idea about this water pollution problem?

    4. Why the incumbent Jaffna University Vice-Chancellor Prof.(?) Vasanthy Arasaratnam is trying to subsides this issues by various means?

    5. A million dollar question is whether Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan and/or other so called experts were bribed by the Northern Power House.

    Dear Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan and others, please kindly address the issue genuinely, since this issue is much more worse than MULI-VAIKAL, otherwise history would teach yo very good lesson very soon. Don’t forget the past.

    • 3
      0

      Would you also want to ask the learned doctor’s motives? Is it possible at allthat he wanted some senior role in the Provincial Council, but denied? Who in the right mind would challenge the sampling and analysis process, and demand for a video? If he does this in the western world, he would be taken to court for defamation with a million dollar tag!

      I thought the VC was not involved in the nomination of the members of the Expert Panel. How is she trying to subsides this issues by various means?

      What has Dr Atputharasa done to be abused here?

      Writing under a pen name is so convenient, huh!

  • 3
    0

    “The local courts will accept the report of the Expert committee working at ground level.Therefore we would be glad you if you send your report to our expert committee . They will include your report quoting you as reference.
    Thanking you

    P.Ayngaranesan”

    “6. I had arranged through the Health Ministry to examine samples from the wells in a wide geographical location from 4 Medical Officers of Health areas (Uduvil, Kopay, Tellipalai and Sandilipai) and sent samples from 25 wells to the Government Analyst Department. All the 25 samples tested in their high quality laboratory had shown evidence of high levels of oil and grease.”

    Dr.Murali Vallipuranathan”

    Dear P.Ayngaranesan I kindly request you verify the following with our Honorable Chief Minister :

    Whether Government Analyst Department report could be challenged in THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA?

    Before knowing all these facts please do not jump into fray and do not try to fool others along with your so called experts.

  • 4
    1

    Reference to Mr. Aluppu’s question dated April 4, 2015 at 11:10 am

    “Whether Government Analyst Department report could be challenged in THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA?”
    The answer is: yes; it can be scientifically challenged.

    I wish to share some scientific information regarding oil contamination in water:

    1.Hydrocarbon is an organic compound which contains carbon and hydrogen atoms only. 1000s of hydrocarbons are present in the crude oil. This crude oil is distilled into different fractions depend on the requirement. Approximate number of carbon atoms present in different fractions are:
    Natural gas contains 1 – 4 carbon atoms; Gasoline (petrol) contains 5 – 9 carbon atoms; Kerosene contain 9 – 10 carbon atoms; Diesel (fuel oil) contains 13 – 15 carbon atoms; Lubricating oil/ Heavy fuel oil contains carbon atoms 15 – 30; Paraffin wax contains 20 – 35 carbon atoms; Asphalt ( road Tar) contains 30 – 60 carbon atoms. I understand that the Chunnakam Power Station used heavy fuel oil fraction which contains hydrocarbons with approximately 15 – 30 carbon atoms. If the oil contamination is from the Chunnakam Power Station only, this heavy fuel oil fraction (hydrocarbon with 15 – 30 carbon atoms) should be present in the well water and no other fraction will be present. Gas chromatograph (GC) is a high tech equipment operated by a computer, separates each component and quantify very accurately to the concentration level of 1 part per billion (ppb). This Similar to a DNA test; this instrument can identify the oil contamination is from heavy fuel oil or different source. Therefore the water sample should be tested against the waste oil sample from the Chunnakam Power Station. Like a DNA test, if both sample are matching each other, then the contamination is from the Chunnakam Power Station; suppose they are not matching then the contamination is not from the Chunnakam Power Station. We don’t have this analytical evidence to support in the Supreme Court. A court always goes with the scientific evidence like this or eye witness, seeing that the oil was pumped into the ground.

    2.We can’t use the total oil and grease result to challenge that heavy fuel oil from Chunnakam Power Station is present in well water. Total oil and grease obtained is a single result; this is a sum of the petroleum contamination plus oils coming from algae and living organisms from the well, soap (used for body wash and cloth wash close to the well), cooking oil (from the food to the septic tank and pass to the well along with E-coli) and oil from other animals (eg. from cow: cow dung is used as manure in the farm, which can reaches the well with rain water). The solubility of heavy fuel oil is only 1 mg/L; suppose we get a total oil and grease result is 12 mg/L then 12-1 = 11 mg/L of oil and grease is not definitely coming from heavy fuel fraction. Therefore total oil and grease is not same substance as petroleum hydrocarbon; these are two entirely different properties. You can’t use result of one test to challenge the other.

    3.Petroleum hydrocarbon can be naturally removed from well water by 3 main processes namely Physical, Chemical and Biological. Physical: due to the heat and wind hydrocarbon can evaporate from the well water. Chemical: the excess nitrate present in the well water (originated from nitrate fertilizer used by the farmers) and other oxidizing agents can destroy the hydrocarbon quickly. Biological: some specific bacteria from the air, soil and water can destroy the hydrocarbon at the rate of 80% in 6 months period. Therefore the hydrocarbon originally present in the well water, at the beginning of the crises, is already destroyed by the nature. Therefore if Chunnakam Power Station analyze the current water sample by a gas chromatograph and submit the result in the court, there will be no evidence to support for the contamination. The hydrocarbon content in well water is rapidly changing and we cannot use a result obtained few months ago in any discussion or challenges.

    4.The integrity of test method used by Government Analyst Department, Regional Laboratory of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and University of Jaffna campus for the determination of total oil and grease can be challenged. This method involves a solvent extraction of oil and grease from the well water by using a hydrocarbon called hexane; this hexane itself is a petroleum hydrocarbon. This means that you are adding a compound to the water and determine the same at the end. This method is a very old and depends on personal weighing and evaporation. There are possibilities for analytical errors at different stages of this test. Therefore the accuracy of this test can be challenged by the Chunnakam Power Station.

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    Dear Professor Puvi,

    Sir, reference to your comment on April 5, 2015 at 4:42 am I wish to bring your kind consideration on the answer of the question “Whether Government Analyst Department report …….” is NO in legal terms, i.e., their findings is final in accordance with the law in this country otherwise court has to appoint a committee to determine the fact as an special case. Your answer is science. Technically I agree with your answer, but I would like to raise few questions (I used to raise questions not to answer questions) in this regard :

    1. Have the so called experts done the test Gas Chromatography (GC)?

    2. In your method, have you include the control experiment, with regard to the contamination from algae and ………? (Refer your paragraph 3)

    3. At least one of them is an expert in soil science among the so called experts? This is also important in this problem.

    4. Have you considered the surface of the water in that wells? You are taking in terms of the solubility of the hydrocarbons in water.

    5. Finally, in accordance to your explanation if oil spilled from oil tanker in an ocean we don’t need to worry about it?

    I shall be tankful f you could kindly give an ABSTRACT about your findings or about the procedures to be carried out in this problem.

    Thanking you

    Yours Sincerely

    Aluppu

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    Reference to Mr. Aluppu ‘s comment on April 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Dear Sir,

    I am just a scientist and not a Professor; you may call me Puvi.

    In any court, whether in Sri Lanka or USA, a Judge will make decision based on the evidence produced; the chemist conducted the test are usually summoned to the court to provide evidence; defence lawyers will be given an opportunity to cross examine the chemists. You may see, from the past records of cross examination of government analysts (from the Government Analystical Department), for forensic evidence; you can see examples from popular cases in Sri Lanka, by some well known lawyers like G.G.Ponnampalam, Dr. Thirichchelvam, and Amirthalingam; in many situations the results from the Government analysts were rejected on cross examination. In early 1990s, there was a well known O.J. Simpson murder case in USA which was called as the “Trial of the Century”; this case was conducted for nearly one year and live telecast in TV channels. In this case, a chemist, Fong, was cross examined for nearly 9 days by the defence lawyers and the result from this chemist was rejected by the court. You may watch this case, if you like, in You Tube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA5sj_zTD9M

    Therefore the results from the Government Analyst Department can be challenged in the court.

    1.Have the so called experts done the test Gas Chromatography (GC)?

    Answer: I don’t think Regional Laboratory of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Jaffna and University of Jaffna Campus have the Gas Chromatography (GC) instrument. Government Analyst Department should have a GC, but may not be used for this test. Please ask this question to the people having the test results.

    2.In your method, have you included the control experiment, with regard
    to the contamination from algae and ………? (Refer your paragraph 3)

    Answer: Paragraph 3 is referring the physical, chemical and biological degradation of hydrocarbon. Many researches had been conducted experiments in this area; just a simple reference for you:

    http://waterquality.montana.edu/docs/methane/Donlan.shtml

    3.At least one of them is an expert in soil science among the so called experts? This is also important in this problem.

    Answer: I don’t have any answer on this question. It appears, for some reason you don’t like the experts!

    4.Have you considered the surface of the water in that wells? You are taking in terms of the solubility of the hydrocarbons in water.

    Answer: I had not seen any water sampling in Chunnakam wells. Please ask this question to people who were sampling or witnessed the sampling. By examining the picture of the well appeared in this site, the floating material could be oil or some calcium carbonate crystalline dust. If a responsible person collect the floating material by filtration, and analyze by GC or ICP-MS will give you the actual nature of the material; whether it is really oil or something else. It could be a degradation product of hydrocarbon.

    5.Finally, in accordance to your explanation if oil spilled from oil tanker in an ocean we don’t need to worry about it.

    Answer: For any spill, whether in the Ocean or in the well we have to worry because it is damaging our environment. Ocean contains salt water and the bacteria cannot survive in high salt condition. The required substances for the chemical degradation is also absent in sea water. Only possibility is by physical method. Crude oil contains a large amount of tar which cannot be easily evaporated. And the amount involved in the spill is huge and require very long time natural degradation. Therefore some other techniques are required for clean up.

    6.I shall be thankful if you could kindly give an ABSTRACT about your findings or about the procedures to be carried out in this problem.

    Answer: Our Tamil community have a special characteristic habit; they never works together to solve any single problem. They always divides into multiple groups blame each other and try to gain some personal popularity and benefit out it. Firstly all the group join together to work for the safety of our people; Presently the water is not drinkable due to the suspected presence of of (i) Nitrate (ii) E-Coli bacteria (iii) Heavy metals and (iv) Petroleum Hydrocarbon residue. Currently on-line water filters, which can simultaneously remove all 4 contaminants, are available in Indian or Sri Lankan market for nearly Rs. 25000 or $ 200 US. Why not someone, from Disaster Management Department, Health Department, Colombo Government, Provincial Government, Jaffna Medical Association or Public Organization, works together and subsides some filters to the affected well owners as a pilot project. Initially they can start with 10 wells and on feasibility study they can increase the number.

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    Puvi,

    “Our Tamil community have a special characteristic habit; they never works together to solve any single problem. They always divides into multiple groups blame each other and try to gain some personal popularity and benefit out it.”

    You put it very nicely!

    “Firstly all the group join together to work for the safety of our people; Presently the water is not drinkable due to the suspected presence of of (i) Nitrate (ii) E-Coli bacteria (iii) Heavy metals and (iv) Petroleum Hydrocarbon residue. Currently on-line water filters, which can simultaneously remove all 4 contaminants, are available in Indian or Sri Lankan market for nearly Rs. 25000 or $ 200 US.”

    Reverse Osmosis?? The rs 25000 R/O can only help one family, is very slow and costs a lot to use.

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    Dear Puvi,

    I am very glad to see your reply at this forum. This forum is not suitable place to argue this case in detail, as such I would like answer your one question only:

    “Answer: I don’t have any answer on this question. It appears, for some reason you don’t like the experts!”

    Yes it is true, because chairman of this so called experts is from Botany. What he has got to do in this problem as a Chairman?

    Another member Dr Atputharasa, by his profession he is an Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate from the University of Peradeniya. He is extremely corrupted person in the University of Jaffna. What he has got to do in this problem?

    Similarly, most of them in this group do not a REASONABLE research background in this problem. For that reason they could not publish their report at any forum. The had just connived a press conference and said there was any heavy metals in the water 40 samples. How is this? They just tried to cheat everybody as usual. But Dr Muralee has got detail results in 100 water samples.

    Soil science is an important factor in this problem, because knowing the architecture of the Jaffna Geographical structure, i.e., cavity in the lime stone structure and water flow through these cavities, is important to explain the nature of this problem.

    Finally, what should have been done on this problem? We should have taken this matter to WHO.

    Yours Sincerely

    Aluppu

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      Aluppu,

      It’s not only soil science, but geomorphology, hydrogeology and geology will also play an important part in understanding the problem.

      Thanks.

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      Hey hey… where are Dr Murali’s results? Why can’t he release them openly???

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    Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:27 PM stated as :

    “Those who do not wish to accept our research findings have so far not honestly contacted us”.

    Have they published any research paper in this problem in a citation indexed journal or in a International Research conference or at least at Universal? So far, we have received not even a single piece of paper in this regard. Then how can he say “Those who do not……..”

    Mr Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan do not try to insult those people, like Dr Murali, working for the benefit of this society without being concerned of their personal benefits. But your case is entirely different and your personal history is also different.

    Beyond any doubt Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan statement is false and misleading the entire public.

    Now, it is clear why the experts have published their statement at the press conference not at Research Conference. Now we can easily identify the real culprit in this problem.

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      What is good journal? Jaffna Science Association journal is also good. But you need to know the editor to have your paper published. It is same with all academic journals, because academics want points for their professorship promotion. You see, journal is only for promotion purposes, but consultancy is different. Don’t confuse science and practical work with university promotion. All three are different things. Think about agriculturist before you make all comments. As agriculturist we need Jaffna Science Association.

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      //Mr Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan do not try to insult those people, like Dr Murali, working for the benefit of this society without being concerned of their personal benefits. But your case is entirely different and your personal history is also different. //

      Ha ha… where is DOCTOR Murali’s results? He claims to have done some work. If he has any credibility, his results should be out FIRST.

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        Rohan, academics don’t need to have results. They are expert in their field. Learn to listen to advise from an experienced retired academic with so many publishing experience. I use same data for atleast ten different papers to get my points. You understand, it is the writing skill that make good academic paper. Ok?

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          Huh! Academics don’t need to have results. Use the same data for 2 academic papers? Are you real?? Murali Vallipuranathan is NOT an academic. Now I know how certain Jaffna University academics publish papers. Poor students!!!

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          //You understand, it is the writing skill that make good academic paper. Ok? //

          With this writing style, you wouldn’t have made any good academic papers then!

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        Rohan,

        “//Mr Ponnudurai Ayngaranesan do not try to insult those people, like Dr Murali, working for the benefit of this society without being concerned of their personal benefits.”

        Who is working for the society not personal gain?

        “where is DOCTOR Murali’s results? He claims to have done some work. If he has any credibility, his results should be out FIRST.”

        Good question. I want to see all the results.

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    Reference to the comment by Puvi on April 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm.

    “Presently the water is not drinkable due to the suspected presence of of (i) Nitrate (ii) E-Coli bacteria (iii) Heavy metals and (iv) Petroleum Hydrocarbon residue”

    Could we use this water other than drinking purposes? e.g., for our washing, cleaning, agriculture, etc., Also, whether the said equipment, on-line water filters, production capacity is sufficient for the above purpose as well?

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      Use the water safely for all cleaning purposes like for washing dirty clothes, latrine purposes, washing house. Always drink good quality mineral water.

      As agriculturist I will suggest do more rainwater harvesting and drink those harvested waters. This will stop all problems.

      Also look into methods of using this petroleum enriched water as source of fuel for motorcycles and so on.

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    Pollution is a very normal thing. It happen all time. Cow dung also creates water pollution, you know. So, can we stop cattle farming? Who will help agriculturist? Before all these scientific methods were available, how did human society manage?

    You talk about methods and materials… but, what is the solution? There is one specialist at the Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna who is Mrs. Puvaneswary Loganathan. She is an expert on water studies. She will definitely tell you that petroleum pollution is not a big problem in water. Anything that will create blue baby condition is a big matter. She is ultimate authority on hospital pollution of ground water, and she know that Power Company is good and is trying to stop pollution. She will be good consultant and stop all insultations!

    You should boil water and drink it. That is easy solution. For boiling, as an agriculturist, I will encourage community forestry. Plant more Ipil Ipil for quick fire wood. It is also nitrogen fixing. Good for soil, not for blue baby. Think and talk. Not Talk and think. I am retired academic, and I think you are arguing on nothing but argument.

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    aiyo, professor. why do we need nitrogen fixing plants? we have ample nitrogen in our groundwater.

    boiling will not remove nitrogen or pesticides.

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      Mister Rohan, boiling is to make good germ free water. A little bit of pollutants will make human body immune. We can’t always live in a protected world. You need exposure to elements to make you strong. I don’t like broiler chicken lifestyle. Tamil saying says, “aalum velum pallukkuruthi”. So don’t use toothpaste, but use natural fibres to clean teeth. Experience is more valuable than book knowledge you know.

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        //So don’t use toothpaste, but use natural fibres to clean teeth. //

        And, you call yourself a professor!! Prey tell us, what is special about veppankuchchi brushing. Should we put ash as well? My dentists tell me that I had bad brushing practices (umi saampal) and my enamel is all gone! I feel sorry for the students.

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    In accordance with the 27th session of the Northern Provincial Council the following could be summarized :

    1. Experts are competent to do research as such in accordance with their decision people would be asked to use the water.

    2. Some anti social elements are trying to use this issue for their political motive.

    3. It is accepted by the NPC oil contamination is diminishing in the water.

    With regard to the first point NPC should publish the background of the experts, then people would decide whether they expert in that relevant field.

    On the second point, it is clear NPC is playing with the peoples’ Fundamental Rights by simply ignoring the very serious issue as dirty politics. For this reason we voted to these people.

    Final point is interesting, it is clear that the had been unusually or unnaturally contaminated by oil and now it is diminishing. Earlier the said all these (contamination) are rumors and so on………

    At this juncture I wish to point out the fact of the North West Province water problem and WHO.

    In this problem WHO says the said water is contaminated by pesticides and some other chemicals and owing to this, people are suffering from various serious illness in that region, but the Govt. of Sri Lanka simply denies this allegation.

    WHO also playing politics?

    I wish to state that we are people suffered all the way and still suffering ………. Do not try to teach us politics and science.

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    Ehiri, you are not understanding the management of the NPC and pollution are different. Water can be contaminated but the NPC needs management. Understand? WHO is a big organization of so many experts, you should not comment bad on WHO. OK?

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    They comment, they criticize… and, wage wars of words with each other. They sit in their protected offices, dreaming of promotions and salary increments. These are the academics, the so called custodians of knowledge and creativity. In reality, they are nothing, just powerless weakling hiding in their academic cloaks. Selfish sinners who can only think about themselves.

    In the meantime, the power mongers play with the system. Pollute and plunder at their own free will to make a quick buck. They rape the natural resources and sell the lands virginity to the corporate moguls.

    The poor suffer… voiceless, powerless, unable even to think about a future that could be a little hopeful.

    This, in a nutshell is the problem.

    A solution can only be achieved when the creativity of a fearless mind focused on the welfare of a community joins hands with the knowledge of the thinkers and the resourcefulness of the masses. When will it happen? Or, reciprocally could this ever happen?

    Till then, the wells in Chunnakam will be cursed and continue to smell of petroleum… this will never end.

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    Dear all.

    I am happy because so many are interested in the Chunnakam problem.

    “The power plant is operated with all necessary environmental licenses and approvals in place which is issued on an annual basis with quarterly checks carried out based on the conditions required by the licensing authorities.”

    Was the CEB treated in the same way when they generated power in Chunnakam? Where are the possible quarterly reports? Does the CEB today have all the necessary licenses and are there quarterly checks?

    “However, we wish to highlight that a large oil lake (Oil kulam) existed within the previous State-run power plant premises before Northern Power commenced operations. This lake contained a large quantity of oil as indicated even on Google maps of the area taken over a period of time and this has been presented to court as well. Subsequently in and around 2012 the area was filled with earth and compacted as a new substation was built on this premises. Unfortunately, to date no one has questioned or looked into finding out what happened to this large quantity of oil that was contained in this oil lake,”

    What happened to the oil lake? Was all the oil buried? Might this be causing the problem? It appears that the substation belongs to the CEB.

    Is there a massive cover up by different local authorities, CEA, CEB etc that did NOT do their job properly?

    There should be documents somewhere.

    When there are cases like this we might never see the promised Right to Information Act.

    http://www.ft.lk/2015/04/08/jaffna-chunnakam-northern-power-plant-reopens/

    Jaffna-Chunnakam Northern Power plant reopens

    Court of Appeal issues order in favour of Northern Power Plant; employees return to work

    With the order of the indefinite closure and eviction of employees issued by the Mallakam Magistrate on 27 January against the Northern Power Plant in Chunnakam preventing its employees from reporting to work being vacated by the Court of Appeal last week; the power plant reopened for essential maintenance and the employees returned to work on Monday, the company announced.
    “We brought to the notice of the Court of Appeal that the order issued by the Mallakam Magistrate on 27 January, was in contravention to the law. Following our application, the Court of Appeal granted interim relief restoring the Northern Power Plant total access and undisturbed possession while allowing authorities to carry on the necessary testing, which has stalled since the closure. This was in effect from Monday (6 April), with the Mallakam Magistrate’s Court and Jaffna High Court being duly informed of this order. Furthermore, the Court of Appeal issued notice to all 11 respondents (Applicants in the original case) to appear before court when the case was taken up on 16 April,” Northern Power Ltd’s parent company MTD Walkers Plc Director/CEO Lal Perera said.
    Earlier on 20 February, the Jaffna High Court allowed the Northern Power Co’s Revision Application to restore the status quo of the illegal eviction of employees from the Chunnakkam Power Plant, except generation.
    However, due to confusion with regard to the interpretation of the language of the order, the plant was ordered to be closed again by the Registrar of the Mallakam Magistrate.
    The company is hopeful that its generation operation too will be allowed to recommence by the court, as it has right throughout maintained that the Chunnakam Power Plant run by Northern Power is in no way responsible for the regrettable water contamination issue that caused hardship to the people of Jaffna.
    All available scientific evidence shows that the powerhouse of North Sri Lanka – Northern Power Co. Ltd. is not in any way linked to the issue of ground water contamination in Jaffna, and that such baseless allegations have been fueled by parties with vested interests, MTD Walkers Plc earlier announced.
    “When the plant was set up in 2007, our main objective was to serve the electricity needs of Jaffna which was in darkness. As Northern Power Company Ltd., we deny outright these baseless charges raised by parties with vested interests and not a single allegation has been so far accepted by courts or by any government authority. As all evidence presented to court points directly to another location as being the source of contamination, the company is not in any way liable for the said situation,” Perera said.
    He pointed out that baseless allegations had been raised with the ulterior motive of misleading the people of Jaffna against the Northern Power Company Ltd., falsely claiming that the power plant located at Chunnakkam (Jaffna) was causing the pollution of several wells located two to three kilometres away from the plant.
    Northern Power Co commenced the construction work of the power plant in 2007 during the height of the civil conflict when no company or individual was willing to even venture into the North, let alone build a power plant; taking all risks to provide much needed power to the people of Jaffna.
    Generation commenced around May 2009 and a larger population which had suffered severe hardships for over 15 years had electricity in their homes.
    Dedicated to serve Jaffna
    “We were the company at that time that contributed the major amount of power as there was no other source and because Jaffna was not connected to the national grid until 2012. The company went through many hardships especially with no road transport facility available and us having to transport all material and personnel by air or sea at a very high cost. But we did it because serving people is in the DNA of MTD Walkers,” he added.
    The power plant is operated with all necessary environmental licenses and approvals in place which is issued on an annual basis with quarterly checks carried out based on the conditions required by the licensing authorities.
    “Unfortunately, the allegation is that the waste oil from the plant is being discharged to the ground and that this was causing the pollution of wells that are located so many kilometers away. We wish to state clearly that all our waste oil is collected in tanks, sold and taken away by third parties and absolutely nothing is discharged into the ground. Waste oil fetches a good price as it is used for firing furnaces as the company makes revenue from its sale and we would not be deprived of the revenue by discharging it to the ground as alleged. If we can earn extra profits by selling waste oil, why would a commercial venture such as ours throw away valuable oil?
    “Unfortunately the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and the Public Health Inspector (PHI) who are not specialists in this field of engineering are making this ludicrous allegation that oil is being discharged by us with absolutely no form of evidence to support their claim. They are basically making these claims based purely on hearsay and without any scientific methodology being employed to identify the root cause of the contamination and by whom,” he said.
    It was also highlighted that due to the simple fact that Jaffna has been connected to the national grid, the power plant is being used mostly during the peak loading times and as such, with the power plant operating only for few hours, there will not be waste oil volumes significant enough to affect wells 3 kilometres away.
    “However, we wish to highlight that a large oil lake (Oil kulam) existed within the previous State-run power plant premises before Northern Power commenced operations. This lake contained a large quantity of oil as indicated even on Google maps of the area taken over a period of time and this has been presented to court as well. Subsequently in and around 2012 the area was filled with earth and compacted as a new substation was built on this premises. Unfortunately, to date no one has questioned or looked into finding out what happened to this large quantity of oil that was contained in this oil lake,” he said.
    “We are strongly of the opinion that there is an unseen hand that is misleading the public of the area with some ulterior motive unknown to us to hinder our operation that is being carried out meeting all the procedural and statutory requirements mandated by the laws of Sri Lanka. The people of Jaffna have benefited tremendously from the Chunnakkam Power Plant and they must think wisely that any hindrance to the smooth operation of the power plant will affect the electricity supply and adversely impact the activities of the North. People should not be misled by these baseless allegations.
    “We wish to reassert that Northern Power Company Ltd. along with its parent company, MTD Walkers Plc, is always committed towards working in the interest of all stakeholders while maintaining the highest standards of corporate ethics and good governance,” he added.

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      Heretic,

      Thanks for highlighting the root caused of the issue.

      The real issue is how used oil is being recycled by the Northern Power Company Ltd. And what happened to the used oil in the storage tank.

      If the company already dumped the used motor oil illegally then damaged has already been done to the environment.

      Now estimating the environmental damage with different technologies by analyzing the water samples is a different issue.

      It doesn’t matter new technologies would detect the environmental damage or not. It may or may not detect it.

      But in this page, nasty comments are directed at the people who did the testings and managed the testings procedure. That is not necessary. And that would not resolve the root caused of this problem.

      Illegal dumping of used motor oils shouldn’t be allowed.

      It’s similar to dumping nuclear waste by nuclear power plants. As Sri Lanka is trying to make sure India doesn’t dump it’s nuclear waste closer to Sri Lanka.

      Check this out:

      “You Dump It, You Drink It” campaign to promote the proper management of used motor oil.

      http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/swbmp/Developing-a-Used-Oil-Recycling-Program.cfm

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        Echo,

        To my best knowledge Northern Power claims to collect the oil and sell it as fuel for profit. CEB has never commented on what happened to the oil lake when they built the substation. I don’t know who did what but would like to know where the oil in the lake went!

        Where do you think all the engine oil in Jaffna goes when people exchange oil in their vehicles?

        How would reopening the KKS cement factory affect water and air quality in Jaffna? Can the authorities be trusted to do a proper Environmental Impact Assessment and control the factory especially after what we have seen in Chunnakam?

        There is regulation for environment. My understanding is that often small operations are (should be!) regulated by the PS and bigger ones by the CEA.

        National Environmental (Amendment) Act, No. 56 of 1988
        [Certified on 12 December, 1988]
        AN ACT TO AMEND THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACT, NO. 47 OF 1980

        http://theredddesk.org/sites/default/files/nea_56_of_1988.pdf

        “No person shall pollute or caus
        e or permit to be polluted any soil
        or the surface of any land so that the physical, chemical or
        biological condition of the soil or
        surface is so changed as to make
        or be reasonably be expected to
        make the soil or the produce of the
        soil poisonous or impure, harmful
        or potentially harmful to the
        health or welfare of human beings, poisonous or harmful to
        animals, birds, wildlife, plants or all other forms of life or
        obnoxious or, unduly offensive to the senses of human beings or
        so as to detrimental to any beneficial use of the land.
        Pollution of soil
        an offence
        (2)
        Without limitation to the generality
        of subsection (1) a person shall
        be deemed to contravene that subsection if-
        (a)
        He places in or on any soil or
        in any places where it may
        gain access to any soil, any ma
        tter, whether liquid, solid, or
        gaseous, that is prohibited by or under this Act or any
        regulation made thereunder or does not comply with such
        regulations as may be prescribed ; and
        (b)
        he establishes on any land a refuse dump, garbage tip, soil
        and rock disposal site, sludge deposit site, waste injection
        well, or otherwise uses land for
        the disposal of or repository
        for solid or liquid wastes so as to be obnoxious or unduly
        offensive to the senses of human beings or will pollute or
        adversely affect underground water or be detrimental to
        any beneficial use of the soil or the surface of the land.”

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    We have the laws and the enforcing mechanisms (at Central and Provincial levels both)…

    Northern Power Ltd. claims to act in an ethical manner worthy of a good corporate Citizen.

    We have talked about what has happened, and why it could have happened.

    But, have we talked about any solutions?

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    Hello Rohan /Heretic/ others

    Is this the result you were asking for? This result was managed to leak onto a Face book page.
    Out of 58 water samples tested, 47 were not detected for Oil and Grease. Results of other samples were 502 (Sthumalai North, Manipay, labeled A2), 3, 13, 1, 3, 6, 7, 4, 3, 26, 4 mg/L respectively. I was very surprised that this is considered as the reference for starting this forum. The well, A2, probably belong to a PHI, shows high content of Oil and Grease (502 mg/ L), the limit not more than 1 mg/ L). This A2 water result is Out of Trend compared to the remaining 57 wells. If this water sample having a high content of Sodium, Chloride, Calcium, Calcium carbonate, dissolved solids and E-coli, then I am suspecting that there should be a septic tank very close to the well so that, oil and fat can leak from the septic tank to well and produces over estimated result. Action should be taken to overcome this problem.
    One good observation: The nature is performing its job perfectly by removing the waste oil from the wells by Physical, Chemical and Biological degradation processes.

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      Puvi,

      Where are the results you refer to? Which Facebook page?

      Are these maybe the results that “dissatisfied doctors” have been anonymously publishing in Jaffna? They claim that the Enviromental Forum didn’t publish their results because very little contamination was found. The water was sent to a private lab in Colombo.

      Thanks!

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    Puvi/Rohan/others

    I am more confused than before because the water in Chunnakam and some other areas maybe has been tested by four different “groups” but the results have not yet been published.

    There might have been tests carried out by:

    1) NPC experts
    2) Environmental Protection Forum (Shantha Abimanasingham)
    3) Water Board
    4) Dr Murali

    NPC claims that the water is ok but Dr Murali and Water Board disagree. I have heard rumours that the results of the Environmental Protection Forum found little contamination except in some wells.

    According to Daily News central government doesn’t trust the NPC results but have they seen the results? Water Board is providing water in browsers and R/O plant has been promised. The Daily News also claims that the water problem is partly political.

    The methods and results should be published for all!

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=local/chunnakam-get-rs-500-m-desalinating-project

    Chunnakam to get Rs. 500 m for desalinating project

    The government is taking measures to allocate an additional sum of Rs. 500 million to include the Chunnakam area in Jaffna to the desalinating project implemented in Jaffna, Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Rauff Hakeem said in Parliament yesterday.

    He said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting had said that the Chunnakam area had to be included in the desalinating project.

    The minister made this observation in Parliament yesterday in response to a special statement made by UPFA parliamentarian Douglas Devananda under Standing Order 23 (2) on the issue of the drinking water in the Chunnakam area.

    Minister Hakeem said a statement by the Northern Provincial Council states that the groundwater in Chunnakam is fit for consumption while investigations by the Water Board revealed that the groundwater in around a kilometre from the Chunnakam power plant in Jaffna is contaminated.

    The minister said according to the report 40 percent of the wells in the area have been contaminated with oil.

    He added that pollution is spreading further to the North.

    Hakeem said Water Board officials have taken measures to supply water to the people through water bowsers.

    He said measures will be taken to identify the substances which has contaminated the groundwater.

    The minister said there was a problem with the mechanism the Northern Provincial Council used to evaluate the quality of water in the area.

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=political/tug-war-between-wigneswaran-and-sampanthan

    Tug of war between Wigneswaran and Sampanthan

    A tug of war has occurred between Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan ahead of the general election, TNA sources said.

    The internal dispute occurred with the Northern Province Chief Minister accusing the TNA leadership of using the Chunnakam drinking water issue for political advantages.

    The Chief Minister has stated that the party should refrain from looking at this issue as a political matter.

    Tamil media reports yesterday stated that the Chief Minister’s criticism was directed at TNA Leader R. Sampanthan.

    An investigation by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board has revealed that the drinking water in the area has been contaminated after being mixed with a poisonous substance released by the Chunnakam power plant.

    However, another investigation handled by the provincial authorities had stated that the plant had not made any impact on drinking water in the Chunnakam area.

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    Hello Mr Aluppu,

    I don’t know your real identity, however, I do understand, based on your posting, that you are an expert in water pollution; instead of criticizing the expert committee, why don’t you try to utilize your knowledge and expertise by contributing to solve the Chunnakam water problem?

    The criticism about the expert committee, based on their field of qualification is not acceptable. A dedicated person, with any scientific background in Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics, Electricity, Electronics, Medicine or Engineering can develop their expertise on environmental pollution by reading many related articles. A person read over 100 research articles, from internet, on water pollution can develop necessary experience, skill and knowledge to understand the Chunnakam Water Contamination. Therefore criticizing a member of the expert committee, based on their first or second degree, is totally unjustifiable.

    There were many famous inventors or scientists never completed their high school grade 12 education. Some examples are Michael Faraday(electro magnetism, electricity, electrolysis); Srinivasa Ramanujan(Great Tamil Mathematician); Thomas Alva Edison (bulb, movie camera, and phonograph and 1000 more); Wright Brothers (Air plane); Bill Gate (Microsoft); Michael Dell( Dell computer); Steve Job (Apple computer). If these famous inventors can be an expert in some field without a high school grade 12, why cannot be a person in the expert committee, with a Ph.D in a science field be an expert?

    Therefore dedication, hard work and experience increase the expertise.

    Puvi

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    Hi Puvi,

    Where are the reports you refer to? Couldn’t get any of these reports online.
    Please answer that question.

    Thank you.

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