By ELIAS LARI
WATERBOARD officials in Mt Hagen moved quickly to shut the city’s water supply system after they found that vehicle engine oil was spilled into one of the tanks in what appears to be a deliberate act.
The officials discovered the “contamination” on Sunday night.
PNG Waterboard closed its main supply to the city at around 11am yesterday.
They found out that someone had discharged engine oil into the water supply’s green well.
The green well stores water pumped up from the Kum River.
Mt Hagen Waterboard staff feared that people might consume or drink the “poison” and closed the supply.
Waterboard production manager Calvin Yolto said yesterday that the water supply would be closed for at least two days as they work to clean out the green well.
He said someone appeared to have jumped over the fence which surrounds the plant site and poured the oil into the green well.
He said this was a deliberate act by the person.
Mr Yolto said their quick action appeared to have saved residents from serious health issues if they consumed the polluted water.
He said a colour change in the water in the green well prompt them to check, leading to the discovery.
Mr Yolto said there was also no chemical available to neutralise the oil, hence the total shutdown.
He said there were footprints and someone even wrote his name at the water outlet station, which would provide good leads for a police investigation.
“On behalf of the staff of PNG Waterboard, I want to apologise to the consumers that it is not a technical fault that is causing the problem but some human beings with animal brains that are causing the problem and everyone is suffering,” he said.
Mr Yolto said a report had been sent to Mt Hagen police for a full criminal investigation.
Schools, business houses and residents and the hospital were without water yesterday.
The dry spell will continue today and possibly tomorrow.