Alarming levels of hydrocarbon contamination in the water sources of several districts in the capital prompted the Ministry of Health to issue a sanitary order. The emergency affects an estimated 100,000 residents in Goicoechea, Moravia, Tibás, Montes de Oca, and San José.

The Ministry directs the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewerage (AyA) to adhere to strict provisions to lessen the impact on affected communities. AyA must supply safe and sufficient drinking water to residents in the affected areas, which is an urgent priority for their health.

Authorities also require AyA to submit daily water sample reports and conduct an in-depth investigation into the contamination source.

Officials advise against drinking water in affected areas and encourage consulting a doctor if consuming contaminated water is suspected. Signs of contamination include throat irritation, skin irritation, stomach problems, and difficulty breathing.

The Ministry of Health emphasizes that water should be colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and urges residents to report any unusual taste or odor.

AyA initially denied contamination when residents reported strange tastes and smells in the water, but subsequent investigations confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons, leading to urgent preventive measures.

Health problems tied to contaminated water have been reported in several San José cantons, such as increased cases of diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

One concerning case involved a 64-year-old resident who became intoxicated after consuming contaminated water, requiring emergency medical attention.

The Ministry of Health continues to monitor and respond to the crisis, prioritizing the well-being of affected residents.

Key Takeaways From Article
Travel Tips:

1. Avoid drinking water in the affected areas: Due to the hydrocarbon contamination, it is strongly advised against consuming water in the affected districts. Make sure to seek alternative sources of drinking water to stay hydrated.

2. Consult a doctor if you suspect contamination: If you have consumed water from the affected areas and experience symptoms such as throat irritation, skin irritation, stomach problems, or difficulty breathing, promptly consult a doctor for proper medical advice and treatment.

3. Look for colorless, odorless, and tasteless water: The Ministry of Health emphasizes the importance of water being colorless, odorless, and tasteless. If you detect any unusual taste or odor in your water supply, report it and seek alternative sources of water.

4. Stay informed about updates and reports: Keep yourself updated with daily reports and updates from the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewerage (AyA) regarding water samples and the progress of the investigation into the contamination. Stay informed about the measures being taken to address the crisis.

5. Follow guidelines and report hydrocarbon presence: Residents are urged to follow the guidelines provided by authorities and report any taste or odor of diesel, gasoline, kerosene, or other hydrocarbons in their water supply. This information will help in identifying the extent of contamination and taking appropriate measures.

6. Be aware of health risks in the affected areas: If you are planning a trip to the cantons of Goicoechea, Moravia, Tibás, Montes de Oca, and San José, be aware of the potential health risks associated with the contaminated water. Take necessary precautions and prioritize your well-being during your visit.


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