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Oct 30, 2019

Ministry of Health Says “Dirty Looking” Water Unsafe to Drink

There is not good news for residents who consume or use potable water which is showing discoloration. The Ministry of Health today confirmed that the dirty looking water pouring out of your pipes is unsafe for consumption. Earlier this week, C.E.O. of the Belize Water Services, Alvan Haynes, appeared on national television and said “the slight discolouration of the water, and sometimes, it is worse than slight; the first thing we have seen is that the water is not unsafe.” Residents of the Old Capital have been bitterly complaining that their water has been gushing out in a reddish-brown colour and this, according to BWS, is caused by an increase of iron. After reports surfaced, the Ministry of Health deployed its water analyst to collect samples from the Belize River, B.W.S.’s main source of water for the City, and run tests to establish the quality and safety of the water. Anthony Flowers says that results show that the water quality does not meet the standards of the World Health Organization and is not safe for public consumption. 


Anthony Flowers

Anthony Flowers, Water Analyst, Ministry of Health

“The results from the brown water or discolored water indicated to us that the water quality does not meet the World Health Organization guidelines meaning that it is not suitable for drinking. When we the testing of drinking water we look at different parameters, bacteriological, physical chemical parameters. If any of these parameters are outside the normal values set by World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water then we would deem that water not suitable for drinking. In this case the discolored water we had one particular parameter we found that was not in the acceptable range. That was turbidity of the water is basically looking at how clear the water is. When we did our test we found that the turbidity in that particular sample that we tested it was twice the accepted value. Hence we would not deem that water suitable for drinking. When the water clears up the samples we did not those it was acceptable but the brown water did not meet the WHO guidelines that would cause us to render that water safe for drinking. we didn’t have an issue with the bacteriological quality of the water but I do know that increased iron in drinking water can lead to a rise in what we call iron bacteria and that would proliferate and cause the water to take on more of that reddish brown color.”

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