Some 100 families are left with no access to clean water after fish were spotted dead at their water sources – the O’Droun and O’Kles Klork streams – in Sambor district’s Kbal Damrei commune, Kratie province, O’Por village chief Sok Yoeun said on Tuesday.
Yoeun said the water contamination happened after water from a Chinese-owned company’s dam overflowed to the lower streams following a downpour on November 11 and 12.
“Our village authorities are working with relevant institutions to investigate the streams and search for the source of contamination. We believe the contamination could have come from the gold mine reservoir of Chinese-owned Xing Yuan Kang Yeak Co,” he said.
The director of the provincial Department of Mines and Energy Sok Kiriroth said that upon visiting the scene, water from the streams was collected to test for traces of toxic substances.
“Water at the streams remains clear and does not smell [bad]. We also collected water far from the area for testing, but the results aren’t back yet.
“For now, we are worried about the health of the locals and advised the village chief to tell the people to temporarily avoid using water from the streams, just until the results of the tests are released,” Kiriroth said, adding that the water sample is on its way to a lab in Phnom Penh.
Kbal Damrei commune deputy police chief Chik Bora said so far, none of the villagers nor cattle which had consumed water from the streams had been poisoned.
Bora said due to the contamination, the villagers were having difficulties in finding alternative water sources for daily use.
“Without any effective measures, the [contaminated] water will pour to other areas.
“If the reservoir is not closed, the villagers at O’Kles Klork area will keep avoiding the streams. They are concerned for their safety and are buying drinking water instead,” he said.