People panic as deadly arsenic found in well water
Updated : 09/15/2012 13:59 GMT + 7
About 500 residents at a tenement in Hanoi are in shock after knowing that the well water they have used in the past several years has been tested containing extremely high contents of deadly arsenic – up to 43 times higher than the acceptable level.
The tenement, located in Tu Liem District’s My Dinh Commune, was built by the Hanoi Real Estate Investment Joint Stock Company (C’LAND) and then sold to about 150 families in 2007.
The water to this apartment block is provided by C’LAND which sources the water from a drilled well.
“During the past 5 years, we sometimes often found the water dirty, muddy and had a reddish color. We reported it every time we found out and the company took some remedies but the problem still continues,” To Minh Kien, representative of the tenement’s residents, told Tuoi Tre.
On August 21, the residents sent some water samples to the Chemistry Institute for tests and the result showed that the samples are contaminated with arsenic at 37-43 times higher than the acceptable level, Kien said.
A woman named Ngoc, who has a 9-month-old baby, passed out when she knew the result, Kien said, adding that Ngoc had used the water, after purifying it using a normal filter, to prepare milk for her baby everyday.
Bui Van Dong, another resident, said, “My wife and children have had to live in another place in the past 2 years. Well water here is very harmful to health.”
‘They filtered the water first before testing it’
After the first test result was announced, Mai Hoang Anh, deputy general director of C’LAND had told the residents that on September 11 the company would send more water samples for test.
However, one day before, residents caught some people pouring a kind of chemical from four cartons to the water treatment system at the drilled well.
The locals reported their findings to the company and Anh explained that those people are staffs of Hoang Hai Anh Services and Trading Co Ltd, which has been hired by C’LAND to treat the well water.
Do Tien Truong, a resident, said, “They [C’LAND] did so to minimize the actual content of arsenic before taking the samples for testing, so that the test result can show an arsenic content under the acceptable limit.”
Arsenic, a colorless and tasteless chemical, is a harmful substance that can cause various diseases, including cancer in skin, lung, liver and kidney.
Locals asked to pay for clean water
On September 13, C’LAND and Hoang Hai Anh Co Ltd, held a dialogue with the affected residents to seek solutions.
The companies asked locals to pay 70 percent of the cost for building a pipeline system that will be connected to the city’s running water supply but the meeting ended with no agreement made, Kien said.
Talking with Tuoi Tre yesterday, Anh said that his company C’LAND was facing financial difficulties and that he hoped locals could sympathize with the company.
He also said he has ordered to halt the supply of the contaminated well water to residents and advised them to use clean water bought from other localities as an alternative source while waiting for a satisfactory solution.