BWS addresses discoloration of water in Belize City


Over the past couple of weeks, residents in Belize City have experienced a discoloration of water that is provided by Belize Water Services Limited. Residents have reported that their potable water is sometimes brown. According to the company, most of the reports were concentrated in the south side of Belize City, with Port Loyola being where most of the complaints originated from.
On Monday October 28, executives of BWS including head of customer services, Deseree Tillett; Public Relations Manager, Haydon Brown; CEO Alvan Haynes; Dave Pascascio and Board Chairman Alberto August; held a press conference to address the issue. CEO Haynes explained that the brown color is as a result of a greater concentration of iron in the water. This, he says, is as a result of an increased amount of the metal at the source, which is the Belize River from where water is extracted and then treated at BWS’ Double Run Water Treatment Plant. The CEO says that when iron comes into prolonged contact with chlorine it causes a chemical reaction turning the water brown.
The company’s representatives say that they noticed a spike in the iron levels on October 12 which came with the onset of heavy rains. Iron is present at four to five times greater quantities than what is normally found in the water. They speculate that the drought may be a contributing factor to this greater presence of iron. Haynes says that it is likely that more land clearing has taken place along the Belize River’s banks and with the onset of heavy rains, it has caused more of the iron to wash into the river and further to their treatment plant.
There are no health risks in using the water nor in consuming it. The only side effect of the brown water is that it can cause stains to white clothing but it is even safe to drink.
For the time being, BWS has resorted to flushing the water system at hydrant and asks customers to let their water run for a couple of minutes if they see the discoloration. Usually, that will allow the water to clear up. However, to avoid the type of inconvenience that the discoloration is having to customers, the company will place additional treatment facilities at Double Run where the iron will be removed at that location.