Ex­cess ni­trates in wa­ter

The tap wa­ter of thou­sands of Va­len­cia res­i­dents still has cer­tain lev­els of chem­i­cal sub­stances that sur­pass WHO rec­om­mended lev­els

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE - By Joe Wick­man jwick­man@cb­news.es

Up to 200,000 peo­ple in Va­len­cia could be af­fected by ex­ces­sive lev­els of ni­trates in tap wa­ter

AS MANY as 214,000 peo­ple are still ex­posed to drink­ing wa­ter with ex­ces­sively high lev­els of ni­trates, ac­cord­ing to a three­year study by the re­gional leg­isla­tive body.

The study shows that the im­pact of ni­trates and plant-pro­tec­tion prod­ucts used in farm­ing on drink­ing wa­ter is still an is­sue. Even though the to­tal amount of peo­ple ex­posed has dropped no­tably since the 90s, when 609,000 peo­ple were af­fected, the wa­ter of Alaquàs, Al­ginet, Al­mus­safes, Be­naguasil, Beni­faió, Bétera, l’Eliana, Sant An­toni de Be­nagèber, Sol­lana and Tor­rent could still be harm­ful.

Un­for­tu­nately, the study also in­di­cates that the ef­fects of be­ing ex­posed to higher lev­els of these sub­stances than is legally es­tab­lished for a pro­longed pe­riod of time have not been an­a­lysed, and as such, re­main un­known.

A long-last­ing prob­lem

Sim­i­lar con­cerns have plagued Va­len­cia res­i­dents since the 80s. The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion es­tab­lishes the max­i­mum amount of ni­trates in drink­ing wa­ter at 50 mil­ligrams per litre, but this fig­ure was sur­passed across the re­gion, seem­ingly due to farm­ing prac­tices and lack­lus­tre wa­ter treat­ment plants.

In the 90s and 2000s, the is­sue wors­ened to the point that drink­ing tap wa­ter was banned in towns such as Car­caix­ent and Alzira. How­ever, a treat­ment plant was built in the Rib­era dis­trict, solv­ing the is­sue for towns in the Rib­era, Foia de Bun­yol and Camp de Túria dis­tricts.

Even so, the study says that 453 un­der­wa­ter gath­er­ing plants are still af­fected to var­i­ous de­grees by ni­trates or chem­i­cal prod­ucts such as her­bi­cides or in­sec­ti­cides.

With the study fi­nally in hand, all po­lit­i­cal par­ties are seem­ingly on board with deal­ing with the is­sue.

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