Consumers should be vigilant when receiving Potable Water – Health & Wellness Ministry

Given recent concerns by several stakeholders about the quality of the drinking water distributed by private trucking companies, the Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to advise that as part of its regulatory responsibility, it continues to monitor the production and distribution of potable water intended for domestic and commercial consumption. Quality checks are carried out by public health inspectors across the island on a weekly basis. In the particular instance of retrofitted trucks noted in the media recently, the Ministry is currently investigating the matter and will advise the public of the outcome.

In the meantime, Director of Environmental Health at the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Mr. Everton Baker notes that water supplied to citizens and the business community should be from the National Water Commission (NWC) or a Ministry of Health & Wellness approved source. The list of approved sources can be obtained from the respective parish health departments.

It is important that consumers are vigilant when receiving potable water, in light of the prevailing drought conditions, as the demand for potable water increases.  “In addition to the work of the Ministry, before water is received, consumers should observe whether or not the vehicle including the water holding containers, hose and fittings are clean. Consumers should also ensure that the water is not discoloured and that there is no odour or foreign matter in the water. Commercial entities are advised, where possible, to do additional quality checks.” Baker cautioned.

If the quality of the water is in doubt, consumers are advised to treat the water by boiling or adding bleach. Water should be heated until it comes to a “rolling boil” (where large bubbles continuously coming to the surface of the water) which should be maintained for 1 minute. Consumers may also add household bleach, not bulk bleach to treat drinking water.  Consumers are to observe the following guidelines for quantity of bleach to water:

Quantity of Bleach Quantity of Water
2 drops 1 Quart
6 – 8 drops 1 Gallon
½ Teaspoon  5 Gallons

After bleach is added, stir and allow to stand for 30 minutes, before consuming.