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Residents in El Palo left without water after aquifer is contaminated

The well.
The well. / SUR
  • Over 700 families were without water for a few days this week after three people poured detergent into an aquifer in El Palo

Over 700 families were without water for a few days this week after three people poured detergent into an aquifer in El Palo.

The detergent was noticed by consumers on Monday evening when the water in the taps came out frothy and perfumed. The police were alerted and warned residents in Miraflores del Palo not to drink the water.

The tap water.

The tap water. / SUR

The local police soon discovered the culprits. One was the owner of a store room in the basement of the building that houses the well that supplies the water to the urbanisation. The owner, with two young helpers, had been cleaning out the store room and had tipped a large container of detergent down a hole in the floor. The three suspects insist that it was an error and they had no idea that the product would get into the well water.

Although the three have been interviewed, and while police determine whether it was a crime against public health, they have not been arrested .

The well, which is fed by an aquifer, is now unusable and it is not known when it will be operational again.

Local conservation director, Pilar Gutiérrez said, “They have caused a lot of damage, they have caused a disaster... we have to wait for the technicians to evaluate if the residue will settle and it can be cleaned."

For the time being, the residents are using water from Emasa which does not normally supply the area. Since 1992 the development has been in conflict with the town hall over the supply of water and has been relying on the aquifer.