AROUND 750 families have been left without water after a cleaning mishap.
Residents in Miraflores del Palo are hoping their supply will be reinstated by the end of the week after workers allegedly poured detergent into a well causing foam to pour from taps across the town.
Pilar Gutierrez, manager of the Miraflores del Palo conservation entity, said the community’s deposito was now being emptied and refilled with drinking water before water can be restored. She confirmed, “we will not supply it until we are totally certain it is not harmful.”
National Police started investigating after receiving reports from concerned residents and soon established three people had thrown the liquid down a well after cleaning a storage room in the Calle Pintor Enrique Florido building.
Police believe the incident was unintentional and explained the product was non-toxic and had a PH of zero, although it does have a strong smell. Officers were able to find the alleged culprits quickly after eight empty containers of sodium sulphate were found in the trash near to the well. Police were able to take fingerprints from the containers, allowing them to identify the workers. The chemical, which is used for foam parties, is the base detergent in many household products including shampoo and toothpaste.
Felix Benitez, president of the Miraflores del Palo Urban Conservation Collaboration Entity, said he began receiving calls from confused residents at around 10.30pm. He explained, “several residents told us they were having problems with the water in their homes which had a strong smell and contained a lot of foam.” He added the organisation soon put their “hands to work to try to find out what happened.”
On investigating, Benitez discovered, “a lot of foam in the water, which also gave off a strong smell.” He said he believed the mistake had been made because “they have recently changed the pipes which move the water which is pumped around and there are some small openings around them. We think that is where the spill occurred.”
Officers from the Local Police went door to door telling residents not to use their tap water before officials then turned off the water supply. The council and Emasa were then notified and sent out nine field technicians who analysed samples and ascertained the water contained, “high concentration detergent.”