News

Comprehensive Report on the Water Contamination Incident

14 Jun 2019

Eng. Khaled Mu’ein Alhosani, CEO of Public Health and Environment Sector, reported that the department has taken all the applicable procedures for such incidents ever since the first report of the incident has been received from a public hospital. A field team was sent by the Public Health Department of the hospital to interview the patients and their families and investigate the common factors to find out the main cause of the incident. It was discovered that all casualties live in the same housing complex. They reported that the symptoms started since using the building’s public water supply.  The team headed to the location of the housing complex to inspect all drinking water tanks above and below the ground and find the cause of contamination. It made sure to cut off all water supply to the houses and utilities in the building in order to avoid further casualties until water safety has been ensured and all corrective measures have been taken. The field team collected samples from all water tanks and distribution pipes in the complex and sent them to the department’s food labs and other external specialized labs to validate the cause of contamination.

The department cooperated with the local Crisis and Emergency Team, Ajman Police General Command, Ajman Medical Zone, Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) as well as other stakeholders to manage the incident effectively and take all the necessary corrective measures to ensure the health and safety of all complex residents. The department designated a field team to perform continuous follow-up on the incident. It informed the company responsible for the building’s utilities of the necessary corrective measures, including completely isolating and emptying the underground tank suspected to be the cause of contamination, emptying all water tanks and distribution pipes in the complex, conducting effective cleaning and sterilization using the approved chemicals and companies, ensuring the safety of water resources throughout the cleaning, sanitization and supply procedures, and taking periodic samples from all tanks and supply points in order to ensure the security and efficiency of the corrective actions until the building is supplied with water that is contamination-free and safe to drink.

 

  • Drinking Water Samples

    Laboratory analyses are being performed on the drinking water samples in the Department of Food and Environment Laboratories, which is equipped with the latest technologies in monitoring the safety and security of bottled and unbottled drinking water. The lab provides continuous support to field teams during morning and evening shifts in case of emergencies.

     

     

  • Incident Follow-up

    The Department of Public Health was instructed to monitor the housing complex and its facilities daily, and perform periodic sampling of all drinking water resources in the housing units and utilities for a whole week from the start of water supply to ensure the safety of water in the complex and the health of its residents. Water supply of the complex was permitted with precautionary restrictions, including the disposal of any stored water immediately, blocking its use for the water heater or pre-packaged water, forbidding the direct or indirect use of water for drinking without the use of filters, avoiding using water in cleaning fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw, and avoiding the use of water by people with intestinal infections and afflicted children.

     

  • Drinking Water in Residential and Commercial Buildings:

    Public water in residential and commercial buildings is unbottled drinking water that meets the approved standard of GSO 149/2014. The Local Order No. 1 of 2015 Concerning Public Health regulates it, stipulating that any owner/ developer/ manager/ operator of a utility is fully responsible for providing the building with qualified drinking water from the qualified resources.

    The department shall obligate owners and caretakers of residential buildings in Ajman with the following to ensure the health and safety of residents:

  • Providing healthy drinking water in sufficient quantities from FEWA or other qualified resources at the department, using approved vehicles for transfer, if any (completely blue tanks with a “fit for drinking” label after making sure the tank and insulation materials used in it are safe and fit for contact with drinking water). See picture attached.
  • Providing water tanks of the approved quality fit for use in buildings, as well as methods for controlling and sealing the tanks properly.
  • Providing water distribution pipes fit for use, that meet quality standards and don’t affect water properties, provided that all joints are secure and tight to avoid leakage
  • A periodic cleaning and sanitization contract must be provided for all drinking water tanks and distribution pipes at least every 6 months with one of the department approved companies or if needed along with lab reports proving the safety of the building water pipes
  • A public health pest control contract with one of the department approved companies must be provided, including the building’s utilities, corridors, waste rooms and external areas.
  • Cleaning the ventilation and central AC system channels periodically.
  • Examining and assessing the sewerage discharge joints and joints periodically to avoid any clogs or leakages that might harm public health or cause mutual contamination.
  • Maintaining the general cleanliness of the building and its utilities.

     

    • Residential Buildings’ Underground Tanks

      The department directs all owners and caretakers of residential and commercial buildings to monitor the status and competence of underground tanks in buildings periodically, including checking the following:

  • Checking the compliance of tank design and execution with the applied standards and regulations
  • Tight sealing of tanks, ensuring no contaminants fall into them
  • Insulation efficiency and use of approved materials fit for water contact in ceiling insulation
  • Provision of periodic cleaning and sanitization (at least every 6 months or when needed) using approved companies and chemicals
  • Insulating underground tanks from sewerage connections securely and effectively to ensure the safety of water provided to residents.

     

    • Safety and Security of Emirate Residents

The department constantly seeks to enhance the livelihood, safety and public health of the emirate’s residents by applying the standard health and environmental procedures and measures and through shared social responsibility with owners and caretakers of residential buildings and society members. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the unified government call center 24 hours a day on: 80070

 

 

 

 


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