by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Minister of Infrastructure Hon Konris Maynard confirmed the presence of arsenic at a well in Shadwell, he also indicated that the well is presently not in use.
Speaking at the Prime Minister’s Press Conference (October 17), Maynard said there are varying levels at which water can be drawn from a well, depending on the depth. Based on experts’ reports, the minister said there are levels of arsenic being received at the depth in question and as such the water at that well is not potable. The Minister of Infrastructure said investigations will continue, to see if other wells within that well have potable water. He disclosed that experts will add additional technology to determine where in the well potable water can be located.
Maynard declared that there are strict testing standards associated with wells in the country and the public does not have to be fearful of any intrusion of non-potable water going into their homes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. The WHO added “People are exposed to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic through drinking contaminated water, using contaminated water in food preparation and irrigation of food crops, industrial processes, eating contaminated food and smoking tobacco. Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly through drinking water and food can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.”