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Belize City Drinking Water Looks Brown #538958
10/29/19 04:36 AM
10/29/19 04:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,964
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

“Dirty-looking” Water is Safe to Drink – says B.W.S!

B.W.S. says that the dirty-looking water pouring out of your pipes is safe to drink. For over a week, residents in the Belize District, including the city, have been reporting that the water coming out of their pipes is brownish, discolored water.  Well, today B.W.S. held a press conference to say that there is nothing wrong with the water – it only contains elevated levels of iron that has reacted to chlorine and that gives the water the brown color.  According to the B.W.S., the problem seems to be going away.  The utility company says that they received around two hundred complaints from households that are affected.  Here’s how C.E.O. Alvan Haynes explains why you are getting discolored water through their distribution system and why it is safe to use.

Alvan Haynes, C.E.O., B.W.S.

“The slight discoloration of the water, and sometimes, it is worse than slight; the first thing we have seen is that the water is not unsafe. However, based on our test, it is due to increased levels of iron in the water which basically comes through from the untreated water. We treat it through the plant but it does not remove the iron levels because the plant at Double Run was designed for the type of water that was tested at the time the plant was being constructed twenty-odd years ago. What we have seen is that we are getting higher levels of iron in the water than before. Now, we have experienced this in the San Ignacio area some years ago and we had to enhance the treatment to basically remove the iron levels. The problem with the iron in the water is that it reacts with the chlorine and it causes the discoloration. So, as the water sits in the system, it comes from the plant clear and as it sits in the pipes it then builds up the discoloration. So, the simple solution is to run the water a little bit so that clears out and then it is perfectly good. The main problem with the discoloration is that it would stain white clothes in the laundry. But other than that, it is safe to bathe, safe to use to cook, safe to give the dogs to drink or people to drink, etc. It is just that it has the colour which we are not used to, obviously.”

Channel 5

Discolouration in the Belize City and District Water Distribution System

Belize Water Services (BWS) continues to receive customer reports of discoloured water in the Belize City and District Water Distribution System. These complaints started on Friday, October 18, 2019. To date, we have received about two hundred (200) such complaints.

BWS has been diligently analyzing the problem and looking at various remedial options to ensure that our water quality is of the required standard. The findings are indicating that the discoloured water in the distribution system is being caused by increased levels of iron in the water, which is causing the discolouration when it interacts for long period with the chlorine.

BWS confirms that the water remains safe to drink. However, customers who experience discolouration are advised to run off the water before doing activities such as laundry. The discolouration usually clears up within a few minutes. BWS asks customers to report the occurrence and, if possible, to take samples in small bottles as soon as the discolouration is noticed.

In addressing this matter, BWS is:

  • Performing extensive flushing of the distribution mains;
  • Performing individual flushing of customer lines based on reported complaints;
  • Testing samples collected to verify content;
  • Implementing treatment to remove iron at the water treatment plant

BWS reiterates that water provided to our customers meets all safe drinking water standards for human consumption. Water drawn from the Belize River at the Double Run Water Plant goes through a thoroughly designed treatment process to ensure the water is safe and free from any dangerous contaminants, in accordance with the Public Health requirements. The water produced exceeds the World Health Organization standards for potable water. BWS is hopeful of having this issue fully resolved within the next few days and apologizes to customers and consumers for any inconvenience caused by this situation and acknowledged and appreciates the patience and understanding exhibited.

Re: Belize City Drinking Water Looks Brown [Re: Marty] #538988
10/31/19 04:26 AM
10/31/19 04:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,964
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Ministry of Health Says Don’t Drink That Brown Water

On Monday, Belize Water Services Limited held a press conference to address the issue of discolored water that's coming out of some household and office pipes in Belize City.

The company said that it's the product of iron in the water - which, while unsightly, is harmless. It's the product - BWS says - of iron running off into the Belize River - which is the company's main water source. Despite the build-up caused by the heavy rains in mid-October, BWS said the water is safe to drink, and to bathe and wash with - although it could stain white clothes.

But today, the Ministry of Health's water inspector said, don't drink the brown water:

Anthony Flowers, WATER ANALYST, MOH
"The results from the brown water, or discolored water, indicated to us that the water quality does not meet World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water, meaning that it is not suitable for drinking."

"We had one particular parameter that we found that was not within the acceptable range. That was turbidity. The turbidity of the water basically looked at how clear the water is, and when we did our test we found that the turbidity in that particular sample that we tested, it was twice the accepted value. And hence we would not deem that water suitable for drinking."

"When the water clears up, the samples that we did on those, it was acceptable."

Jules Vasquez
"So your advice to those in the public right now would be - don't drink the water right now?"

Anthony Flowers
"Yes, in terms of the brown water as it comes out of the tap, I would advise people not to consume that for drinking."

Jules Vasquez
"Speak if you can about the safety to wash your dishes; wash your clothes and to bathe yourself or young ones, infants in particular, newborns."

Anthony Flowers
"Yeah, ahm, in terms of that water in its state as I said it's not suitable for drinking. In terms of other domestic use, like washing ahm particularly white clothes, it will not be suitable for that. And as well looking at bathing, you also have to look at that as well. Because as I said when the water has that increased turbidity, you do not know what all are the particles in it, and so you would want to allow that to settle out or something before using the clearer portion to bathe with, for example."

"The CEO of BWSL basically said in his interview that this water is good to drink. From a Ministry Of Health standpoint, your comments?"

Anthony Flowers
"Well, as I said from the Ministry of Health standpoint we are not deeming the brown water to be suitable for drinking."

"So his comments were basically erroneous?"

Anthony Flowers
"Well I didn't listen to Mr. Haynes comments totally, but I can just say from our standpoint, that is the, that is our viewpoint that the brown water is not safe based on the fact that you have increased levels of iron and turbidity."

"Sir but is it not a concern of the ministry that BWS was essentially putting people's health at risk by saying yes drink the water, use the water to cook and everything. Isn't that a concern of the ministry?"

Anthony Flowers
"The Ministry of Health is concern about the safety of drink the water. That is our mission, in terms of our lab here and so we are now setting the record straight in terms of the quality of that water letting the public know this is the fact that that water should not be consume for drinking."

Responding to those comments this evening, BWS CEO Alvan Haynes stressed that his company never said that discolored water is safe to drink. They said that if the water appears dirty, run it until it's clear and then that clear water is safe to drink. He stressed that even though the water may still have higher than usual iron content - it has no ill effect on consumers.

And while BWS is sure that the iron is coming form runoff on the river banks - Flowers said he's not that store yet:

Anthony Flowers
"We have been out in the fields along the Belize River at different points, because we are still not able to ascertain what exactly is causing this. And so we were out in the fields for two days, looking at the river, the raw water source because as we know for Belize City - the source is the Belize River where they have their abstraction point there at Double Run. And so we have been out with them collecting samples. We are now processing those samples to see if this iron, increased iron is coming from the raw water itself, or it's some other operational parameter within the system."

"I cannot at this time say yes that at the end of the week the issue will be resolved because I said if we don't know what exactly is the cause, then it's kind of difficult to put a firm date in terms of resolution of it. When we know then that will help in terms of looking at the solution."

"But are they jumping to conclusions in saying that it's just iron running off from the soil and that it will be resolve in a week. Are those premature conclusions, sir?"

Anthony Flowers
"I cannot speak on behalf of BWS."

"From your assessment?"

Anthony Flowers
"That's what I am saying from our viewpoint in terms of the water quality lab for the ministry, we have done tests, we reported to you what we've found and we are saying that until we find out what is the cause of this then we can look to see what measures that are needed to put in place by the company at the treatment plant if it's some operational issue and when that happens then we move on. But I cannot speak to you in terms of BWS."

Flowers says they collected samples on Monday which were not brown - and it passed the test for safe consumption. BWS says that complaints have been coming into there officer but far fewer than last week - so the water seems to be working its way out of the system. But, there could be more ahead. BWS is expecting another wave of flood waters coming from downstream which will arrive at their Double Run plant in a few days. By then, a new system should be in place which will isolate the iron and stop it from reacting in the water supply. And, finally, with this whole water discoloration thing, we stress that - for unknown reasons - it does not appear in every home.

Channel 7

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