TALLINN - Estonia's Health Protection Inspectorate has refused to issue a sales permit to Narva's water supplier, AS Narva Vesi, saying that the city's water "cannot be considered safe for one's health."
The inspectorate issued a notice to the company on Oct. 30 demanding that the city's drinking water be made to comply with current quality standards, writes EPL Online.
A representative of the Health Protection Inspectorate told The Baltic Times that in several tests the levels of Tri Halo Methane, a substance that can cause cancer after long-term exposure, was found to be over the allowed limit of 150 micrograms per liter.
The head of the Narva city government's commission for water quality, who was tasked with answering press questions on behalf of Narva Vesi, was unavailable for comment.
The notice issued by the Health Protection Inspectorate demands that Narva Vesi remedy the problem by Jan. 1.
"They will fix the problem, but it takes time," said the inspectorate's representative, noting that resources could come from the EU-supported Environmental Investment Fund.
Meanwhile Tiiu Aro, the director general of the Health Protection Inspectorate, said that there's no danger of the authority forcing AS Narva Vesi to shut off the taps.
"Although the water in question cannot be considered safe for one's health, the chemical danger from short-term use is not comparable with epidemiological dangers from the shortage of water intended for human consumption," she stated.
The same day Narva's water problems came to light in the media, Aripaev reported that as much as 14 percent of Estonia's tap water contains higher than normal levels of radioactivity. The report said that the radioactivity is most likely to be naturally occurring, and that other countries around the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia have a similar problem.