In the face of concerns raised about the Fyrish well being located in a cemetery, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has said that tests have shown no contamination in the last three years.
In a letter published in last Tuesday’s edition of the Stabroek News, Region Six Regional Democratic Council (RDC) member Haseef Yusuf raised concerns about the well’s location in the cemetery.
Yusuf explained that the issue was raised several times to no avail and questioned why the authorities at the water company “would have allowed this risk to residents’ health to be ignored.”
Yusuf explained that studies have shown that harmful chemicals, bacteria and viruses are released from the decomposing bodies, which can infect groundwater and other water sources that are close by.
In a statement issued last Thursday, the water company stated that the microbial water quality of the Fyrish Well is “intact” and consistent with the drinking water guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The statement explained that the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality 4th edition (2011) states that for microbial water quality, verification is based on the analysis of faecal indicator microorganisms, with the organism of choice being Escherichia Coli (E.coli) or thermotolerant coliforms.
As a result, GWI said that E.coli as well as total coliforms are consistently monitored at the well as well as all of the other water production sites around the country.
It went on to state that based on the water quality data that has been measured over the years, the water at the Fyrish well shows that there is a “characteristic absence of pathogenic microorganisms as indicated by consistent non-detection of E.coli.”
GWI added that it operates a central laboratory and several mini laboratories, one of which is located in Port Mourant, Berbice, where the general water quality of all wells and treatment plants are consistently monitored for safety. In addition to this, other independent laboratories are also used to corroborate the water quality data whenever needed. “These laboratories use approved methods based on standard internationally recognized practices, and like the GWI laboratories, adhere to a strict quality management system,” the statement said, while also pointing out that the central laboratory collaborates with other certified independent laboratories within the CARICOM region, such as Kaizen Environmental Laboratory, which is based in Trinidad and Tobago, for inter-laboratory comparison of random samples in order to determine the accuracy and precision of the analyses that it performs.
“With the aforementioned, we assure our customers that the management and staff of GWI continually strive to remain dedicated to delivering the highest quality services to customers with their satisfaction, safety and good health being our prime focus,” the statement added.