Water consumed by almost 15,000 neighbors in the town of Santo Domingo in the province of Heredia, east of San José, contains fecal matter, according to the National Water and Sewer Institute’s (AyA).
Neighbors alerted authorities to the water issues two weeks ago after more than 100 residents experienced vomiting and diarrhea.
Darner Mora, director of the AyA national lab said the institute tested the water from the municipal aqueduct on Sept. 27, two days after the diarrhea outbreak started. Santo Domingo Mayor Laura Pardo told the daily La Nación that the water did not go through the chlorination process on Sept. 24 and 25.
According to Mora, the chlorination process is not effective enough and a water treatment plant is needed, which would cost ¢500 million ($975,000). Pardo added that the contamination was a result of intense rains that may have brought more sediment into the water.
In the meantime, Mora suggested the municipality should inject chlorine into the water pipes to clean them. After this process, residents should open faucets and let the water run for three hours. Mora also recommended neighbors wait at least two days before ingesting tap water until the process is properly done.
On Oct. 3, the municipal council decided to deliver water to homes in Santo Domingo until the problem is solved.