Maynilad acts on water contamination

By Miko Santos

ACTING on reports that several people in Balut, Tondo, Manila have died or were hospitalized allegedly due to contaminated water, the Maynilad Water Company on Wednesday announced that it will commence water rationing in the affected community.

Maynilad President Rafael Alunan III said over a live radio interview over radio station dzMM that initial findings indicate a huge number of illegal water connections in the area.

Alunan said those who fell ill may have drawn their drinking water from busted pipes.

He assured affected residents in Balut that the company will dispatch trucks to supply potable water on Wednesday.

He also said Maynilad officials are working in tandem with the Manila City Government to weed out illegal water connections. "We are also dissuading people from using water pumps because more microbes tend to get sucked into the water supply line."

He added that Maynilad performed emergency treatment of the water supply by injecting chlorine into the pipes.

The water firm also assigned four water tankers to provide safe drinking water to residents of the affected areas.

Alunan said the water company is working to increase water pressure to improve the supply, as well as increase chlorination to cope with the threat of contamination.

At least four people have reportedly died because of gastroenteritis while dozens were hospitalized after consuming contaminated water from Maynilad's
pipelines.

Manila health officials have sought the help of the Department of Health's epidemiology division to determine whether the cases included cholera.

No new cases were reported Monday afternoon up to Tuesday as local health authorities declared the situation under control.

Manila health and sanitation officials identified the affected areas as Velasquez, Capulong, Varona and Raxabago streets, as well as Dagupan extension.

Diarrhea-stricken residents, mostly from Velasquez street, began pouring into hospitals starting midnight last Thursday.

The number of patients flocking to seek medical attention peaked last Saturday.

Records at the Manila Division of Preventable Diseases showed that 115 were confined at the San Lazaro Hospital, 26 at the Gat Andres Bonifacio Hospital, 13 at the Ospital ng Tondo, 41 at the Mary Johnston Hospital, and 20 at the Tondo General Hospital.

Health authorities said the outbreak was caused by the E. coli bacteria in wastewater that seeped into the water pipes of the affected residents in Tondo
district.

Maynilad services the western portion of Greater Metro Manila area, among other franchise territories.

Maynilad, which blamed illegal connections and the use of booster pumps as the primary cause of the outbreak, supplies water in the Tondo area.

The water firm urged residents to report illegal connections and to stop using booster pumps to prevent the further spread of the disease.

30/10/2003

Bron : Sun Star

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