Ajman - 190 tenants were rushed to the hospital over the weekend for treatment.
The Ajman Municipality on Tuesday confirmed that a leak in sewage pipes caused water contamination in Horizon Towers, which turned more than 190 people ill.
The tenants of the four towers of the residential building, including 80 children, were admitted to various private and public hospitals in the emirate.
Humaid Al Mualla, acting director of the health and safety section at the municipality, said that the contamination had happened in one of the underground tanks.
Following a report from a hospital about the illness of a large number of tenants in the building, the municipality formed special emergency teams to address the issue. The team emptied the tanks and took water samples for testing in the municipality's laboratory to determine the exact cause of the incident. The test results on Tuesday proved that the water had been contaminated by the mixing up with sewage water that had leaked into one of the four underground water tanks.
He added that the municipality immediately took necessary measures after identifying the source of contamination. "The municipality teams had closed all the tanks and pipes to clean and sterilise them. After the sterilisation works, we instructed the tenants to leave the taps open to drain any contaminated water," said Al Mualla.
He said the municipality is waiting for final results of further tests to ensure that the water is safe.
On Monday, following the directives of Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and Chairman of Ajman Executive Council, a committee was formed to investigate the source of water contamination.
Committee members from various government departments, including the Ajman Police, municipality and planning department, Ajman medical district and the emergency, crisis and disaster management centre, were tasked to come up with answers as to how and why the residents were exposed to water contamination.
The committee has been given one week to submit a detailed report to establish what happened and ensure such a deplorable incident would not be repeated.
Sheikh Ammar also directed an ambulance be present at the tower round the clock to respond to any emergency and ordered that tenants receive water from an alternative source until the issue has been resolved.
He urged all residents to immediately report any suspected incidents of water contamination.
Tenants of Horizon Towers, where more than 190 people fell ill due to water contamination, said they are facing water scarcity for more than three days. However, the water supply was restored for a few hours on Monday but it was disconnected again by midnight.
Pranita, one of the affected tenants, said: "We were very relieved when the water connection was reestablished, but the supply was stopped again at midnight. We all are outside the facility office and they are not telling us how much time they will need to restart water supply. We had to buy bought more than 500 litres of water and nobody is bothered. Last night, the building management distributed one box of mini water bottles and they think they have done enough," she complained.
"I, my husband and three children fell ill due to the water contamination and we spent two days in the hospital. Still my youngest child suffers from fever. We stayed in a hotel after being discharged from the hospital. We returned to the building when we were told that the water supply has been restored. But, again it was disconnected. I couldn't go to my work for some days due to the situation as I have to stay with my children until they recover completely."
Sources at the Ajman Police said that they have received complaints from tenants at Al Midina police station and are working on the investigation to refer the cases to legal authorities.