Development of Water Quality Testing Laboratories in DPHE
Safe drinking water should be available for everyone, at any time. This is the basic human need. Now a day, Water quality has become a very big issue and un-debatable event because of the tremendous growth of population, urban expansion, development, Industrialization and natural cause for the deterioration of quality of water, which is very threat for living kingdom. On the other hand, high withdrawal of ground water and decreases of surface water is the threat of water quality by increasing pollutant in water which makes more demand to water quality information. Set up of laboratories for increasing water quality testing facilities from central to grass root level for the conformation of safe drinking water supply became evident for the concern department.
In early 80’s with the assistance of Dutch Government, DPHE had established four zonal water quality testing laboratories for the confirmative of potable water supply to the people. These four zonal laboratories are situated at Khulna, Comilla, Mymensingh and Rajshahi at DPHE office campus.
The contamination of ground water by arsenic in Bangladesh was first confirmed by Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) in Chapai Nawabjang district in late 1993. In 1997, Bangladesh Geological Survey and DPHE started investigation of ground water jointly by using both laboratory method and field test kit method for the detection of arsenic. They collected water sample and sent to abroad laboratory for other parameter analysis. After completion of the study, it was found that ground water of 61 district out of 64 and 249 Upazilas out of 470 have been contaminated by arsenic above 50 ppb.
In 1998, under a project jointly supported by the Government of Bangladesh (GOB), World Bank & Swiss Agency for Development & Co-operation (WB-SDC) implemented by DPHE four existing DPHE laboratories were strengthened and five new DPHE laboratories were established at Rangpur, Bogra, Tongi, Barisal & Sylhet with increasing water quality testing facilities.
In 2004, Government of Japan provided grant aid assistance for establishment of the Central laboratory in Dhaka which is expected to coordinate and manage all laboratories of DPHE. Two DPHE zonal laboratories were also upgraded under the Japanese grant aid at Noakhali and Jenaidah which was established under Danida supported project.
In 2007 Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance circle was created in DPHE with the assistance of JICA. The Circle was established headed by a Superintending Engineer to lead the overall Laboratory management setup. Besides these there are two divisions headed by the Executive Engineers and one analytical unit headed by a Chief Chemist will run the laboratory full time.
In 2014, with the assistance of IDB, DPHE establish a zonal laboratory in Gopalganj under IDB assisted Rural Water Supply project. But due to the absence of permanent manpower set up DPHE currently does not able to operate the test. At present, the laboratory is being operated by the manpower being involved in the Barisal Laboratory. At present DPHE have a total 13 laboratory in different locations of the country including one Central Laboratory located in Dhaka coordinated the entire laboratory system centrally.