But NEC’s test results are awaited to confirm the water’s chemical content 

Update: A test result from the Erec India Research Laboratory in Guwahati, India ruled out any kind of chemical and toxic contents in the water dispensed from the treatment plant in Samdrupjongkhar.

The sample was sent to the lab in Guwahati to confirm the cause behind the death of some 100 fish near the treatment plant a week ago. The treated water runs from the treatment plant into the Dungsam Chu.

Samdrupjongkhar thromde received the test result on December 4. The municipality had requested Sangsel Eco Trade and Environment Servicing agent to transport the water sample to the National Environment Commission (NEC) in Thimphu to test its toxicity or chemical content. Three samples of in-let (raw sewerage), effluent water (after treated) and Dungsam Chu were sent for the test.

An official from the agency said the samples were taken to Guwahati, which follows World Health Organization permissible standards, because it was the closest place to Samdrupjongkhar.

“The samples were taken to Guwahati to ensure they could be tested on time as the required duration between taking samples and testing should be eight hours,” the official said.

The result showed the pH was below the lower limit, the bio-chemical oxygen (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) exceeds its maximum desirable limit and all parameters tested for the river water were found under the desirable limit.

One of the thromde officials said this means that the cause of the death was not because of the treatment plant’s water. “The result, in fact states the after treated water is clean and cleaner than the Dungsam Chu.”

However, the thromde officials will have to wait for another test results from the NEC before declaring the treated water as clean.

An NEC team from Thimphu came to Samdrupjongkhar to collect samples to further test its chemical content, since the present result is based on Indian permissible standards.

The official said they would verify the results to see if it meets the environmental standard 2010 and only then would the water from the treatment plant be declared clean.

NEC has already given the samples for testing in Phuentsholing because the samples should be checked within 24 hours.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar