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High mercury levels from illegal mining forces GWI to set up alternative water system in Port Kaituma | News Source Guyana

High mercury levels from illegal mining forces GWI to set up alternative water system in Port Kaituma

The public utility company is currently drilling another well as a fix to the threat residents currently face from consuming mercury contaminated water.

High mercury levels from illegal mining forces GWI to set up alternative water system in Port Kaituma

The Guyana Water Inc. has assured that although tests have confirmed mercury levels higher than what is acceptable in samples of water taken in Port Kaituma, efforts are afoot to make available alternative access to potable water.

GWI’s Managing Director Dr. Van West Charles told reporters on Tuesday that the water company has stopped pumping water in the area as it looks for other sources.

The public utility company is currently drilling another well as a fix to the threat residents currently face from consuming mercury contaminated water.

Previous tests were done by Kaizen laboratory out of Trinidad.

Dr. Van West Charles said more samples are to be taken and sent to IAST for further testing of a better determination of the seriousness of the matter.

Officials of the company believe the situation is compounded by repeated and willful acts of sabotage to its water distribution in the Water Dog area, in Madhia Region #8.

The Managing Director said the intentional leakage caused by illegal mining activities are to facilitate “wash down” activities by the miners.

“This is seriously affecting the quality of water we distribute to the residents,” he added.

Dr. Van West Charles said the company is facing a $2 million bill to do the necessary repairs to the lines.

Already, GWI has engaged regional officials, the police and staff from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to help arrest the situation.

GWI is also considering investing in drones to carry out its own surveillance of the areas where the illegal activity is said to be occurring during the days and late at nights.

“We have had over 100 leaks introduced to access water for illegal activity… this is getting out of control and we need the community involved.”

The Company said it is unsure what chemicals are used in these illegal mining operations but it is greatly concern with the threat of contamination.

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