Health officials test drinking water in wake of HWP blaze – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Health officials test drinking water in wake of HWP blaze

The Department of Health has begun sampling drinking water at properties near the site of the devastating HWP fire.

Residents expressed fears their tanks may have been polluted during the blaze at the company’s St John’s Road, Pembroke site on Monday, August 8.

Government said the day after the blaze that the building’s roof contained asbestos, a potentially dangerous substance.

It explained that rainfall and the amount of water used fighting the blaze helped prevent asbestos dust from escaping.

However, it advised those who may have had soot deposits enter their tanks that they should not drink the water until after the tank had been cleaned.

A further Government statement issued yesterday said: “Immediately following the fire at HWP on Monday, the Department of Health began making arrangements for water to be sampled in the surrounding area. They can now confirm that this is underway.

“The water sampling will determine the extent that drinking water supplies have been polluted by the fire. Samples will be processed, and processing will take about two weeks, so the Department of Health is asking the public for their patience.

“Once the samples have been analysed, we expect that the report will include a map which will provide a visual representation of the extent of the pollution.”

The statement repeated previous advice about drinking water: “Those members of the public who did not block their building’s drainpipes and were in the direct path of the smoke plume, which then left ash on their roof, are advised to drink bottled water and to clean out their tanks.”

Those who did block their gutters but still experienced ash on their roofs were also advised to drink bottled water as a precaution until testing has been completed.

The statement came after the Opposition called on Government to tell residents if water testing facilities are available, in light of the fact that the Government lab is not fully functioning at present. Government did not specify whether the samples will be processed locally or overseas.

Anyone with concerns should contact Environmental Health on 278-5333.

The aftermath of the HWP fire. Government said it is testing water quality.

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Published August 13, 2011 at 8:20 am (Updated August 13, 2011 at 8:20 am)

Health officials test drinking water in wake of HWP blaze

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