SERHA names 8 communities with unsafe water

Monday, June 23, 2014

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THE South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) last Friday identified eight communities in rural St Andrew where water provided by the National Water Commission (NWC) is not safe for drinking and urged residents to boil or use bleach to treat water used for domestic purposes.

The health authority issued the notice on the same day that the Jamaica Observer reported that the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Health Department had threatened to disclose the affected communities after the NWC failed to inform residents of the problem.

SERHA said the affected communities are:

* Top Maryland

* Woodford

* Salisbury Plains

* Drummond Reservoir

* Rosy River

* Cane River Bottom

* Drummond Filter Plant, and

* Lawrence Tavern.

"Routine monitoring of the water supply systems that serve these communities by the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department (which is responsible for public health services, surveillance and regulation in Kingston and St Andrew) has detected unsatisfactory levels of chlorine," SERHA said in a news release.

"The Kingston and St Andrew Health Department will continue to monitor the water quality to determine when the water supply has been restored to an acceptable standard. The Health Department will also be implementing targeted education interventions in the affected communities," SERHA added.

On Friday, the Observer reported Chief Public Health Inspector Everton Baker as saying that water quality indicators showed that 33.3 per cent of the 18 bacterial samples taken from rural St Andrew water sources were bacterial-positive and contained the coliform bacteria that could cause diarrhoea.

Baker, who was reporting to the KSAC's Parish Disaster and Health Committee meeting the day before, said that his department had been in dialogue with the NWC, which had made promises, but nothing had been done.

Baker's report enraged councillors, one of whom said that the situation existed for more than four years.

On Friday, SERHA said that the public will be advised as soon as the water is considered safe for consumption. "In the meantime, the Region strongly encourages the residents of the affected areas to treat the water they consume in order to prevent water borne illnesses and maintain good health," SERHA said.




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