The Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA – Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados) confirmed that they had hired the company Turbina S.A. to remove arsenic from the wáter of seven communities in Guanacaste and northern Alajuela on Wednesday, January 29.
The company will be placed in charge of supplying and installing arsenic removal equipment that will benefit the communities of Bebedero de Cañas, Quintas Don Miguel, Falconiana and Agua Caliente-Montenegro de Bagaces, Santa Cecilia del Amparo and Cristo Rey de Los Chiles.
According to Dr. Carlos Vargas, of AyA’s Office of Investigation and Development, once the company is confirmed and the work order approved, the company will have one month to present the final designs, construction plans and corresponding schedules. After that, they will have four months to complete the construction of public works and the importation, installation and operation of the equipment.
“Posteriormente a esta fase, la empresa tendrá 15 días para poner en funcionamiento los equipos, de ahí en adelante entrarán a operar por 6 meses, y de esta forma AyA evaluará el funcionamiento de los equipos” dijo el Dr. Vargas.
“After that phase, the company will have 15 days to get the equipment working, and thereafter they will work for six months, and that is how AyA will evaluate the performance of the equipment,” said Dr. Vargas.
According to an AyA press release, as of this date the situation has been definitely resolved for 28,152 people who were originally at risk. For the remaining 10,526 people, water will be provisionally supplied while the installation of this removal equipment in the seven communities is finished. In addition, during the first half of 2014, the final solutions for the other communities will be concluded, in which improvements are being built through interconnections or by capturing new sources.
Dr. Vargas indicated, “We insist that people use the water we’re supplying in cisterns to drink and prepare food, and the aqueduct’s water for cleaning and hygiene at home.”
According to the World Health Organization, arsenic is a carcinogenic poison that is naturally present in high levels in the groundwater of some countries.
In June, the Constitutional Court gave AyA a period of six months to determine the causes of pollution, still unknown, and to provide drinking water in the affected areas
Vargas specified to The Voice that in areas like Nicoya, Hojancha or Santa Cruz, existing data shows no arsenic in their water sources, and they have now conducted 3,800 analyses throughout Costa Rica, scanning 700 locations.