DOWASCO continues to monitor water

Gwennie Dickson

Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) officials has advised the public to boil water before drinking, as it continues to monitor its system in light of the spread of ashes from Montserrat’s volcano dome collapse.

Public Relations Officer of DOWASCO Gwennie Dickson in a statement issued  on Friday said the most common problems that can be associated with the ash contamination are high turbidity and acidity.

“Dominica is currently experiencing the effects of ash from the collapse of the dome of the Soufriere Hills, Montserrat Volcano and as a result many persons have voiced concerns regarding water quality. Whenever there is high turbidity the typical advice is to boil water for drinking,” she said.

According to Dickson, ash contains parameters such as sulphates which normally occur in ground water, and is of concern only when found in high concentrations.

“Our water monitoring programs test for these parameters on a regular basis to ensure conformity with World Health Organization standards for drinking water.

“We would like to reassure the public that we are conducting checks on the water quality of all our water systems to determine whether there are any changes that need mitigating action. So far, we have not received any negative results,” she added.

DOWASCO has also been in contact with the Environmental Health Department and also the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute in St. Lucia.

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  1. LCM
    February 17, 2010


    I stand corrected Drop in PH is correct I was thinking rise in acidity. MY Bad

  2. February 17, 2010

    The previous comment I believe is mistaken is saying the PH level will rise with the addition of acidic volcanic ash to the drinking water. Pure water has a PH of 7, acids have alower PH and bases a hiugher PH. Thereofre, adding acidic ash to pure water should LOWER the PH, not raise it. However, I too do not understand how boiling will help with the acidity of the water. Perhaps the public health officials want to be sure the turbidity seen is not due to bacteria rather than the ash?

  3. pastense
    February 17, 2010

    waw finally i not lonely anymore, there are educated people out there who speak out. thanks alot LCM. great info and great opening with the ignorance line there.

  4. two cents input
    February 17, 2010

    WELL SAID LCM. You are soo correct. My exact thoughts while reading through this article. Professionals should treat their jobs with much more respect and demonstrate a level of aptitude for the task at hand. Shame on Dowasco management for such irrelavant advice in an attempt to comfort the Domincan pupolace who, I assume Dowasco believe is ignorant. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS ATTEMPT AT CALMIMG PEOPLE FEAR AND LEGITIMATE CONCERNS. I SUGGEST THAT LCM’s ADVICE BE ADOPTED BY THYE COMPANY EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. This approach would constitue responsible management of the situaution. Not the blah blah that has been spoken for PR sake.; TAKE HEED. LOVE to all my peeps out there. We all have to be each others keeper. When wrong is wrong…. If we see something…we have to say the interest of overall safety.

  5. LCM
    February 16, 2010

    Ignorance is the mother of all F-ups.

    The contamination from volcanic ash is mainly high turbidity and acidity as they indicated above. I am not sure boiling the water does any good.

    First of all water is boiled to kill of microbes that may cause health problems such as cholera and loose bowels etc etc. The turbidity is as a result of the chemicals that the volcanic ash is made up off which in itself causes the PH level to rise. Chemicals such as sulphur dioxide/sulphur etc.

    Boiling is not very effective at getting rid of these chemicals. Dowasco should have some carbon filters set up at every cistern in the island through which the water should pass before going to the households. These Carbon (Charcoal) filters are much more effective in cleaning such contaminants mentioned above. Boiling May only kill microbes but the chemicals still remain.

    Further more I would advise every dominican to set up some carbon filter system to there tap water or the tanks that collect rainwater, I remember opening my tap at home and our drinking water would stink of chlorine after application by Dowasco. We have all kinda stomach problems in the village and i think it may be from our so called clean water.

    It is annoying to see when professional give the public bad information.

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