MT HAGEN, PNG WATER DELIBERATELY CONTAMINATED

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Supply shut-off after oil poured in creek

By Sent Timbi PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 23, 2010) – The water supply to Mt Hagen, the major highlands city, has been shut down.

This comes after a large quantity of used oil from vehicles was poured into Kum creek, the main source of the city’s water supply.

As a result, PNG Water Board closed the taps for three days as of yesterday due to contamination of the water supplied to the city.

All residents, business houses and schools in the city will go without water until tomorrow.

The water supply was shut down from the main treatment plant at Rabiamul yesterday.

PNG Water Board Mt Hagen manager Jack Moro said the contaminated water was detected around 9 a.m. yesterday.

Mr. Moro said many liters of used oil were taken to the main chambers located at the main pump and poured in on Sunday night.

"The people involved in pouring the oil put graffiti all over the walls of the chambers and also poured oil all over the cement floors.

"This is the first of its kind to happen at the main chambers that supply water to the city," Moro said.

He said the three days will allow for the authorities to ensure that all contaminated water is drained out and pipes are inspected and serviced properly. When asked about the security arrangement, Moro said some locals from the area were engaged to watch the facilities but they did not detect the culprits. He also said one of the main pipes was damaged by the same people who threw a little container into it before they left the area. He urged consumers to look for water elsewhere. Post-Courier was unable to establish whether the schools were closed yesterday.

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