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Embassy: Boil water before use


SANKA PRICE and ALEX DOWNES

Embassy: Boil water before use

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The ongoing sewage problem on the South Coast seems to have compromised the quality of the drinking water in that area.

At least, that is what the Americans are implying.

Yesterday the United States Embassy issued a health alert warning its citizens not to drink water directly from the taps, but boil it first or use bottled water.

“Recent tests at several US Embassy residences revealed bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water. As a precautionary measure, the US Embassy recommended to its staff to boil their drinking water or use bottled water. The US Embassy will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates accordingly,” the alert on the US Embassy website said.

Some US Embassy foreign officers live in and around the South Coast with the deputy chief of mission’s residence in Top Rock, while other properties are located in Enterprise and Durants.

This may well be the catalyst for the health alert.

The alert did not specify any particular district with bacteria in the drinking water.

Attempts to have further clarification from the US Embassy proved futile last night. James Rodriguez, the embassy’s public affairs officer, did not say which districts were tested, what bacteria was found, and if any embassy staffers became sick after drinking tap water.

All Rodriquez would say via email was: “At this time we don’t have further information to provide. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates accordingly.”

When contacted last night, Minister of Health John Boyce said the ministry was looking at the US Embassy’s statement and would be preparing a response, but up to press time, it had not been received.

Several unsuccessful efforts were also made to contact officials from the Barbados Water Authority and the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, both said to be in meetings up to press time.

The US alert comes five days after Boyce assured Barbadians that “your health is being taken care of, your health is being monitored”. He made that statement at a ruling Democratic Labour Party meeting on Sunday night two weeks after the US, Canada and the United Kingdom issued travel advisories on three successive days against Barbados because of the ongoing South Coast sewage crisis.

At press time, a number of agencies were meeting to prepare a media release on the matter. (SP/AD)

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