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Tests reveal tap water 'drinkable'

Tests reveal tap water 'drinkable'

Random tests of Phnom Penh's water supply reveal that tap-water in certain parts

of the city is apparently safe to drink but two brands of bottled Cambodian water

failed purity tests.

The tests, which were commissioned by the Phnom Penh Post, were carried out by the

Pasteur Institute last week.

Water drawn from the Tonle Bassac in front of the Royal Palace also appeared to pass

safety tests.

Many Phnom Penh residents draw water from the rivers.

Samples taken from a large container of Anglo Natural Drinking Water showed high

levels of organic matter and nitrites.

Three randomly-selected liter bottles of Angkor water also failed on high nitrite

levels.

The conclusion of the chemical analysis on three samples of each brand came back

"non-potable".

The tap water result is perhaps the most surprising, especially as previous surveys

indicated the city's water supply to be harmful.

However, newly-laid pipes are said to be channeling clean water to some areas of

the city, including the neighborhood around Street 242 where one sample was taken.

Fractured water pipes under much of the city often result in raw sewage mixing with

clean water supplies and experts advise people not to drink untreated tap-water.

Although some pipes have been replaced recently with French aid, many areas do not

have bacteria-free water and leaks in the pipes mean that water does not reach the

outer suburbs.

Commenting on the test results for Anglo Water, Dr Chea Chhay of the Health Ministry

described the sample as "very toxic, no good" and said it contained a high

level of bacteria (between 2.10 and 2.15 mg of organic matter per litre).

The doctor believes the government should thoroughly test all bottled water before

allowing it to be sold.

The nitrite level in the Anglo water was between 0.150 and 0.210 mg per litre and

in the Angkor Wat brand between 0.050 and 0.1.

Dr Chea believes ingesting a high level of nitrite would cause health problems over

time, but not in the short term.

Previous tests carried out by the U.N. also pointed to contamination in some brands

of local bottled water.

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