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Govt must test water tanks of homes affected by the HWP fire - OBA

Government should sample tank water at homes affected by the smoke from the HWP fire and send them overseas for quick analysis, according to the One Bermuda Alliance Shadow Health Minister.

Fire ripped through the HWP plant on St John’s Road on Monday. A plume of smoke could be seen as far away as Flatt’s and parts of the building had asbestos.

Today Kathy Michelmore issued a statement whic said: “The OBA recognizes the HWP fire was a sudden, shocking occurrence and that the Health Department has issued public advisories about necessary action to protect home water supplies from soot and smoke contamination.

“Our main concern with the situation centres on the possibility that many residents downwind of the mid-afternoon fire did not block their roof downpipes as directed before the heavy rain on Monday night and Tuesday.

“These residents should be informed by the Department of Health and the Health Minister if water testing facilities are available, in light of the fact that the Government lab is not fully functioning. The public need to be informed as soon as possible about the quality of their tank water.

“Notices have been issued regarding asbestos, but we think it’s just as important to know if any other smoke-born contaminants pose a threat to public safety as a result of the industrial fire.

“These tests can check for VOCs, polycyclic hydrocarbons, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals and asbestos whatever substances the Fire Department believes were physically present on the site and may have been transmitted by fire.

“If the Government lab is unable to provide analysis, we recommend the Health Department sample water from some of those homes directly in the path of the smoke plume. These water samples should be sent by courier, for a quick turnaround, to a US water testing facility.

“The information learned would enable officials to advise local residents and businesses as to whether they actually need to pump their tanks, especially after all that rain yesterday. Without testing, it is unlikely people will know whether they are at risk or not. People need to be assured about the safety of the water they use in their homes.”

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Published August 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm (Updated August 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm)

Govt must test water tanks of homes affected by the HWP fire - OBA

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