Testing water in Cuernavaca. Testing water in Cuernavaca.

Gasoline continues to contaminate wells

One well shut down after gas continues flowing due to illegal pipeline tap

Gasoline believed to be coming from illegal pipeline taps continues to contaminate drinking water for residents of the Morelos capital Cuernavaca, and the problem appears to be spreading over a larger area.

Water authorities say a well that supplies the town of Ocotepec, to the north of the city, is being polluted with a constant flow of gasoline and has been shut down.

According to the municipal water agency SAPAC, about 3,000 of the 108,000 water connections in Cuernavaca are receiving contaminated water. Residents have been warned that water can be used only for cleaning purposes.

SAPAC’s estimates may soon have to be tallied again as residents of the town of Acapantzingo, located six kilometers from Ocotepec and in the southern part of Cuernavaca, have reported their water now tastes and smells of gasoline.

The municipal government has deployed a fleet of tanker trucks to carry water to the families affected.

Municipal officials have warned that at least two other neighborhoods, Las Águilas and Chapultepec, are also receiving tainted water.

It was a month ago that residents of Ocotepec, a town of about 15,000, reported that their drinking water had a strange smell and taste.

Eleven days later SAPAC ran tests that confirmed the presence of gasoline and explained that the source was an illegal tap on a nearby Pemex pipeline.

This fuel spill had contaminated two of SAPAC’s wells and three water deposits, triggering a three-day suspension of water distribution.

According to the municipal Civil Protection office, the number of pipeline taps reported so far this year has increased by 47% over last year.

Federal and state authorities announced an operation Monday to reduce the number of illegal taps and apprehend the gangs involved.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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