Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Tammuz 5761 - July 11, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Tel Aviv Area Warned Against Drinking Tap Water on Monday
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Dan region, including Tel Aviv, were told on Monday night not to drink tap water, even after it had been boiled. The orders were given by the Health Ministry after Mekorot reported serious contamination. By Tuesday morning, residents of Tel Aviv and other areas were allowed to drink boiled water, and it was expected that restrictions would be further eased in the course of the day.

In Bnei Brak, the city immediately transferred its water supply to wells. In normal circumstances, the city gets about half its water from local wells and about half its water from Mekorot. Bnei Brak also forbade residents from using tap water until it could be ascertained that all the suspect water had been flushed from the system. The city set up taps on the sidewalk that distributed well water to thirsty residents.

Health Ministry tests on the polluted water confirmed the original findings and, shortly after 8 p.m., warnings were issued on both television and radio.

Tests showed cloudiness in water in the National Water Carrier in the area. Onward flow through the carrier was immediately shut off, so the ban on use was confined to the areas around Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Givatayim, Holon, Givat Shmuel, Petach Tikva, Yehud, and Bat Yam.

Shalom Goldberger, chief engineer in the ministry's environmental quality department, said last night that among the probably causes are improper use of agricultural fertilizers or a breakdown in equipment. Ministry spokesman Ido Hadari said no details about what had caused the situation were available last night, but that the instructions were issued "as a precautionary measure." It was not forbidden to take a shower, he said.

The National Water Carrier is an open channel that brings water from Lake Kinneret to central and southern Israel.

Dr. Alex Leventhal, head of public health services in the ministry, said that sabotage and terrorism were ruled out, because intentional action could not cause such a widespread effect.

Leventhal said that the source of the discoloration was unknown, and it was not certain that it was dangerous to health.

"There is no contamination in the water," Leventhal said. "The water is cloudy, 10 times more than usual.... when you turn on a tap, you see the color of the water is not normal. It is not clear what the reason is, whether it is chemical or something else, so until we know for certain, we are asking that people in the Dan region do not drink tap water."

Within minutes of the announcement, Tel Aviv residents began flocking to supermarkets and groceries to buy bottled mineral water, quickly emptying shelves.

Mekorot opened an information hot line at (08) 927-1624.

Mekorot engineers and Health Ministry officials were working overtime last night in efforts to trace the source of the contamination and rectify the problem. Health Ministry officials said the work could take eight to 10 hours or even longer.


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