By Agnes Rivera
For the last 15 days, residents of Arequipa experienced unpleasant odors and flavors in their south Peru water.
The water supply company, Sedapar, has comment that the usual water treatment process is not sufficient enough to resolve the unpleasant taste. Though the chief of quality control at the La Tomilla treatment plant, Rosa Maria Jimenez, believes the cause of the unpleasant odors and flavors is the sediment from the El Pane dams.
So why is it just now occurring? Blame below average rainfall.
According to El Comercio, the aforementioned dam has a 99 million cubic meter capacity, yet at the moment contains a mere 39 million cubic meter level of water.
Dead green algae have been found, but Jimenez assures this contaminant is trapped in the filter plant. Although this unwanted element is prevented from entering residents´ homes, the treatment, which includes chlorine, results in an altered taste and smell.
Speaking upon the water situation, the Executive Director of Health of the People of Arequipa, Percy Madariaga, comments that no bacteria or microorganisms are entering homes but the water still does not meet the requirements of Supreme Decree 031-2010 (a drinking-water regulation).
“Drinking water must meet two basic requirements: the smell and taste should be acceptable. It’s definitely not the case at this time, but theres an additional problem; there is no set parameter to determine just what is acceptable,” Madariaga states, as quoted in El Comercio.
At the moment investigation has begun to find out if the water is in fact safe for consumption. Palao Veronica Cano, representative of the National Superintendence of Sanitation Services (Sunass) in Arequipa, has requested an analysis of the water supply to be performed by the Catholic University of Santa Maria.
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