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Kolar - Terahalli

Kolar – Terahalli

Kolar is located 70 km East from Bangalore. Ten years ago the gold mines in Kolar were shut down by Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML). The 4,850 million litres of water that has collected in its 75 abandoned mining shafts, creating a massive underground reservoir, has turned toxic with heavy metals, all by-products of gold mining. And now the toxins are leaching into the groundwater, the town’s primary source of drinking water, finds a study by the Department of Mines and Geology. The arsenic contamination in Kolar isn’t therefore caused by natural sources. [1]

Kolar Gold Fields, Oorgaum, Kolar district

Kolar Gold Fields, Oorgaum, Kolar district

Kolar Gold Fields

Kolar Gold Fields

Kolar District

Kolar District

Kolar water sample tracking

Kolar water sample tracking

We left Bangalore at 8 on Thursday morning, April 18. The bus ride was 2 hours long after  which we took another bus to Adima – a theatre group located in Terahalli that hosted us during  the two days. On the first day we collected 10 samples that were taken mainly from borewells, that locals  use for their domestic as well drinking purposes. We had one chemical testing kit – ORLABS Arsenic testing kit that required an amount of 25 ml water to test it for Arsenic contamination. We conducted 2 tests later in the same evening and finished testing the rest of the samples when we got back to Bangalore on Monday and Tuesday (April 22, 23). While none of the samples tested positive for  Arsenic, the results are inconclusive due to the time taken to test, method for collecting the samples,  light or air exposure as well as the accuracy of the kit to detect 10 micrograms and lower per litre.

A well at Terahalli

A well at Terahalli

Walking to the site

Walking to the site

Taking a sample from the well

Taking a sample from the well

On the second day we travelled to KGF (Kolar Gold Fields) in the same Kolar district, where Arsenic contamination had been reported by the Department of Mines and Geology. We collected 6 samples taken from a public drinking tap, water tanker and local eateries that didn’t test positive for Arsenic. We got a chance to talk to the Nanjunandaswamy, the manager at the Municipal office at KGF, who introduced us to Mr. Ravindranath K.R, environmental engineer of Municipal Office, KGF. Our visit happened during the elections, so Mr. Ravindranath requested us to visit Kolar again in May.

Mine site

Mine site

Mr. Ravindranath

Mr. Ravindranath

Golconda Shaft

Golconda Shaft

 

Here is a link to our data mapping: Water sample – map track

 

Here is our video documentation!

 

One thought on “Arsenic Field Testing – Kolar

  1. Pingback: Kolar Gold Fields water recycling proposal | biodesign for the real world

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