Jerusalem’s water contamination scare hits both Arabs and Jews


Residents of Jerusalem were told yesterday to boil their water for two minutes until further notice. High levels of treated sewage water had leaked into the main drinking water system. The neighborhoods affected include Arab and Jewish regions alike: Baka, Abu Tor, Talpiot, Tsur Baher, Silwan, Ras el-Amud, the Old City, Mamilla and Musrara.

Even by this morning the Health Ministry said people should still boil their water and not use water from the tap for brushing teeth or for any matters involving food.

The issue affects an estimated 130,000 people. Early this morning helicopters with missiles attached to them were spotted and cited by Jerusalem residents. One on Facebook connected the sighting to the water contamination and a possible terror attack. Though no comment was made like this in the mainstream news.

Hagihon, the company that tests the water started getting calls on Tuesday, the local newspaper the Jerusalem Post reports.

First samples showed decreased levels of chlorine, pointing the finger at contamination.

The city has taken the issue so seriously that they have set up a situation room, including the mayor’s presence, in order to deal with the problem.

I took a tour of one of Jerusalem’s largest water repositories way back when and it was like looking inside a football field-sized pond covered with cement. With high levels of security, it’s hard to see how infiltrators could get in, but this is always on the minds of the people who protect Israel’s drinking water.

As for boiling water, and not using water from the tap, this is the reality of people who live in countries like Thailand. No one there can drink water from the tap, but use it only for washing up and flushing toilets.

In Israel, however, the Ministry set up stations for residents to collect safe drinking water, without charge. That is not the case in Thailand.

Israel also has an unparalleled amount of water that gets recycled. Almost all of its available water that comes to treatment plants, including sewage waste, gets retreated and then reshipped around the country for use as grey water – to water trees and plants.

Image via zeevzeev

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