Monday, December 17, 2007
Is Quito's Water Suitable for Drinking?
Maybe. 50% of the water is supplied from the Papallacta lake, which was heavily contaminated by 22,344 barrels of crude spilled in 2004. The accident caused the death of 300 cows and all the fish in the lake. Since then the water is not used by the people of the area. Petroecuador, that assumed responsability for the accident, considers the area contamination free as from 2005. However, rests of oil can be seen in the water. The water also has a natural high content of arsenium. EPA regulations establish the following limits:
Contaminant MCLG1 (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1 (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
Arsenic 0.010 as of 01/23/06 Skin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer.
Benzene zero 0.005 Anemia; Reproductive difficulties, decrease in blood platelets; increased risk of cancer. 1 liter of gasoline makes undrinkable 1,000,000 liters (1,000 cu m) water. 22,344 barrels of oil carry the potential to contaminate 4.5 million cubic meters of drinking water.