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Ajman tightens water safety measures after sewage leak incident

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 17, 2019 | Last updated on June 17, 2019 at 06.09 am
Crisis management team constituted by Ajman Crown Prince visits patients affected by water contamination.- Supplied photo
Crisis management team constituted by Ajman Crown Prince visits patients affected by water contamination.- Supplied photo

The water supply in residential and commercial buildings is considered 'unbottled drinking water'.

Authorities in Ajman have tightened policies on water safety, following the sewage leak incident that caused more than 190 residents to fall sick.

Khalid Al Hosany, director of the health and environment department of the Ajman Municipality, on Sunday rolled out stricter measures for owners, managements, developers or operators of residential facilities.

He reiterated that building owners in the emirate are responsible for ensuring that all their water storage tanks are clean and the water supplied to their tenants are safe for use.

"The water supply in residential and commercial buildings is considered 'unbottled drinking water', which is subject to GSO No. 149/2014 standards and specifications," Al Hosany said.

According to the GCC Standardisation Organisation (GSO), 'unbottled drinking water' must not contain "any substances which would affect its color, taste, odour or appearance. It should be free from foreign bodies, such as soil, sand, hair and other substances and impurities which are visible to the naked eye".

The GSO specifications also include other water quality guidelines that all buildings and facilities in the emirate must follow closely.

As part of the new policies, building owners are required to regularly check their water tanks and storage facilities. They must schedule cleaning and disinfection operations every six months or whenever these are needed. Such procedures must be carried out only by certified companies, according to the municipality.

All water tanks must also be properly sealed to avoid contaminants, and appropriate insulation should be in place.

The municipality emphasised that ground water tanks must be kept away from sewage pipes.

A probe of the recent incident at Horizon Towers found that a sewage leak contaminated the buildings' water supply. Tenants earlier told Khaleej Times that they didn't drink their tap water, and yet scores of them had been rushed to hospitals.

The health and environment department will continue to carry out water tank inspections across the emirate - from residential buildings and schools to mosques, parks, hotels and government buildings. Violators shall be penalised, the municipality said.

Authorities also urged residents to report any changes in the colour or smell of their tap water.

Once a complaint is received, the municipality will be deploying inspectors to collect water samples for lab tests. And if the water sample is found "unfit for usage", a warning notice will be issued to the building's owner and the management will be given time for corrective measures.

Besides ensuring water safety, owners must implement a pest control programme to make sure that corridors, garbage rooms and other areas are free from insects and rodents. Air-conditioning ducts and ventilation systems should also be cleaned regularly. The municipality stressed that general cleanliness must be maintained.

"We welcome all inquiries, complaints and observations through our call centre (80070), and the hotline is open 24/7," Al Hosani said.

Policies for building owners in Ajman

>Check water tanks and storage facilities regularly

>Schedule cleaning and disinfection operations every six months or whenever these are needed

>Only certified companies may carry out cleaning operations

>Water tanks must be properly sealed and insulated

>Keep ground water tanks away from sewage pipes

>Inspect sewage connections periodically to avoid any blockage or leakage

>Implement a pest control programme

>Ensure air-conditioning ducts are cleaned regularly

KT NANO EDIT

Happiness is prime

An uninterrupted supply of clean water at home is a given in the UAE as opposed to several nations. Remarkable for a desert nation! Public health safety is of prime concern for the state, with the right regulations in place and with user-friendly departments ensuring happiness of the people.

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

Afkar Abdullah


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