Not safe

US embassy tells staff don’t drink tap water

Despite repeated assurances from the Ministry of Health that drinking water on the south coast has not been affected by the ongoing sewage spill, the United States has issued a health alert to its staff here, advising that the tap water is simply not safe for consumption.

In a statement posted on the US embassy website, the Americans said they had conducted tests recently on the tap water and had found “elevated levels” of bacteria.

“Recent tests at several US Embassy residences revealed bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water. As a precautionary measure, the US Embassy recommended to its staff to boil their drinking water or use bottled water,” the alert, posted late this afternoon, said, without specifying the locations of the residences where the tests were conducted.

The embassy said it would continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly.

However, it advised its staff to follow the Centers for Disease Control directions on how to stay healthy and safe, which include guidance on safe drinking and eating.

Today’s advisory directly contradicts Minster of Health John Boyce, who touched on the issue during a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) branch meeting at Lawrence T Gay School over the weekend.

Boyce told party faithful the ministry had conducted weekly tests on both the seawater and drinking water in the area, and had determined that the near-shore water quality was normal and potable water was safe to drink.

In addition, he stressed that samples collected from kitchen surfaces showed no abnormal bacteria.

“In due time, the Barbados Water Authority will be issuing appropriate information to the people of Barbados for you to be sure that your health is taken care of and that we are capable of controlling the incidents of any diseases because of the situation,” Boyce said, adding that the ministry was not into any cover-up schemes.

“If there is any change into that circumstance, you, the public, will be the first to know,” he added.

When asked to comment on the latest development this afternoon, Boyce told Barbados TODAY he had been at meetings all day and had only had a glimpse of the advisory after it was forwarded to him by Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best.

Therefore, the minister said, he was not prepared to respond at the moment, adding that he would be conferring with Dr Best and other officials from the Ministry of Health tomorrow on the matter.

“I was in Cabinet for most the day but as I was driving home the alert from the US embassy was forwarded to me. I have not had a chance to speak with them on the issue but I would be doing so in the morning,” Boyce said.

This is the fourth time that Barbados has been hit with warnings and travel advisories linked to the sewage spill since the start of the year, with Canada, the US and the United Kingdom issuing travel advisories in the space of three days, warning their citizens to avoid areas impacted by the effluent overflows.

While none of the countries had advised against travelling to Barbados, but simply to “take normal security precautions” while here, Washington had called on its citizens to “avoid water activities in the affected areas” on the south coast between St Lawrence Gap and Hastings, and to “beware of sewage on the street”.

In a swift reaction to the latest alert, former Minister of Health Elizabeth Liz Thompson described the situation as “a national disgrace”, and called on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as well as the ministers responsible for health, water resource management, the environment, business and tourism to “indicate what type, level and frequency of random testing of the water quality of residential and commercial properties in the affected area is being conducted to determine if there is any intrusion of bacteria or other compromise of the potable water or water system”.

“If the sewage is visible above ground and is bubbling up through any space available, it must be worse underground where water pipes are located,” Thompson posted on the Barbados TODAY Facebook page.

Liz Thompson

“How much more international embarrassment and real risk to health, safety, the economy and wellbeing, will the country and its nationals have to bear for this Government to act in the national interest, or even condescend to answer a national who is raising legitimate issues?

“The south coast needs this type of testing if the public is to be protected,” she wrote.

colvillemounsey@barbadostoday.bb

18 Responses to Not safe

  1. Tony Webster January 25, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    The truth will set you free.

    Reply
  2. luther thorne January 26, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Call the Elections
    Stop Punishing the People
    Call the Elections
    This is Cruelty to Animals.

    The DLP cares nothing about the people of Barbados. This is very clear to me
    This Sewage situation on the South Coast Sums up the Sordid tenure of the DLP.

    Add the Downgrades and Travel Advisories and now the quality of our WATER questioned and we have witnessed the DESTRUCTION OF BARBADOS

    The Dems came back in 2008 to finish the job of Destruction they started in 1986 – 1994 , the worst period in Barbados since 1937.
    DEMS NOW : DEMS NEVER EVER AGAIN
    AWAY WITH THE BAD STUFF !

    Reply
  3. Mark Rosmar January 26, 2018 at 3:17 am

    Tell us what you really think Luther.

    Reply
  4. Jenifer January 26, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Barbados drinking water is disgusting. All over the island .
    I have suffered from its effects .. on a drip for weeks lost two stone. It is rusty brown filth and is sadly making many people ill

    Reply
  5. Rubin January 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

    “I was in Cabinet for most the day but as I was driving home the alert from the US embassy was forwarded to me. I have not had a chance to speak with them on the issue but I would be doing so in the morning,” Boyce said.

    Yeah, it can wait til the morning… That has been the motto for the past 8 years.

    Reply
  6. milli watt January 26, 2018 at 11:59 am

    DON’T PANIC!………………lolololololololol

    Reply
  7. milli watt January 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    wait dem is tattoos on liz shoulders

    Reply
    • The Truth January 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Dont mind the US Embassy. Lies DEM ah tell.. Lord save we

      Reply
  8. Ossie Theophilus Moore January 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Well fellow! The more Nessly and CocoCola will make in earnings! Sounds good to the capitalist ears.

    Reply
  9. F.A.Rudder January 26, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    The area location of those water samples analized; would be of prime importance in isolating and locating the microbiological batches of samples.

    Reply
  10. Greengiant January 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    @Jennifer: I and others my age have been drinking the water from the B W A for over five decades, never has it made us ill. Several persons like yourself have been drinking bottled water, desalinated water, and other form of treated water in many developed countries for decades, not knowing the origin of the water.

    I have searched, the official website of the US Embassy, read the printed bulletin sent to my phone to see any signs of the document saying it was Barbados. In any event the reservoirs supplying water to the south coast are located at Rising Sun, and Reservoir Road Brittons Hill. Surface water takes a considerable time to reach the aquifers, so it’s highly unlikely the source is contaminated. The cross contamination would have to be caused by leakages at the individual property source.

    I don’t buy everything that’s offered to me, until I have the facts. What evidence has the US provided on the results of higher than normal bacteria levels in drinking water in Barbados? This problem could very well be related to the countries within the region that suffered from the effects of hurricane devastation, and the operatives of the B L P copied and advertised for their political purposes. If so, this too is an attempt to undermine the efforts of the very civil servants who have spent tireless nights, and weekends working hard to address the sewerage and health issues on the south coast.

    What can any political leader or candidate gain from continued efforts to destroy the country of Barbados. They’re only affecting the stability our people have enjoyed for decades and need to stop post haste.

    Reply
  11. Helen Juanita Lynch January 26, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    @Greengiant January 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm “I have searched, the official website of the US Embassy, read the printed bulletin sent to my phone to see any signs of the document saying it was Barbados”
    https://bb.usembassy.gov/health-alert-u-s-embassy-bridgetown-january-25-2018/
    “Location: Barbados
    Event: Recent tests at several U.S. Embassy residences revealed bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water. As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Embassy recommended to its staff to boil their drinking water or use bottled water. The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates accordingly.
    Actions to Take:
    Follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directions on how to stay healthy and safe, which include guidance on safe drinking and eating.”

    Reply
  12. harry turnover January 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    “I and others my age have been drinking the water from the B W A for over five decades, never has it made us ill.”…..when someone starts out with SH8 like that,.what follows would be a continuation of that said SH8…..lord have mercy !!
    People have not gotten sick for DECADES so they in gine get sick…because Greengiant has lived for DECADES,Greengiant in gine dead.
    For DECADES there was NO MAJOR SEWAGE STINK on the SOUTH COAST but we got one now when there should be none
    Man you really green when it comes to common sense….you is a giant .

    Reply
  13. Alex Alleyne January 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    For sometime now when you catch a glass of water it look like if there is MARL in it. When you boil it and look inside of the container (pot/kittle) you see such objects like something from a “marl-hole”. In a minute you can tell something is wrong because it’s “sandy” on your tongue while drinking. I did a test and it read “HARD WATER”.

    Reply
    • David Brathwaite January 26, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      “Hard Water” simply means that it has dissolved limestone in it. Most of Barbados’ water is hard water because it percolates through the limestone before it reaches the aquifers.

      When you boil hard water the lime (calcium carbonate) is separated and so you get the grainy white stuff in the kettle or saucepan.

      Having said that, it is a national disgrace that bacteria (singular bacterium) were found in the water by the US authorities.

      People who live on the south coast are getting sick. A guy I know was vomiting for days and had to be put on drips by the doctor (today) because of dehydration.

      Reply
  14. Lorenzo January 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Green Giant why you don,t stop defending foolishness you think the US embassy are going to play games with their people,s lives like this government is with Bajans lives.The reality has hit the fan,this is not about blaming others and hiding this is time for full disclousure and solutions to a serious problem.You sound like the J/A returning Dem who asked Mr Ellis who Mr Donovan was representing when he speaks of the South Coast mess.This is people,s lives we are dealing with and the USA aren,t taking no chances and to speak about sewerage in the USA is nonsense have nothing to do with problem in Barbados but that is expected from CCC and Saga Boy in an attempt to deflect attention from the DLP.You all care nothing about Bajans only about party.

    Reply
  15. Den January 27, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I have personally tested tap water from Port St. Charles a couple of years ago and it showed elevated bacteria (read: fecal matter) This is the water they use to make a ice for your drinks at the bar. Water testing kits are available to anyone at low price on the internet.

    Reply
  16. Sgt. Torquewrench January 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Well!! Have you been updated Barbados and that is; with Location , time of sampling, run off time before sampling, method of containerizing sample and sampler’s signature or employment code?

    Reply

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