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    Contamination of Potable Water at Penang International Airport – a Disaster Averted

    Bina Rai S, Thiruvengadam V, Hendersen A

    OSIR. 2013 Mar; 6(1):1-5.
     
    Abstract
    On 1 Oct 2010, the Penang International Airport started major renovation and construction. Water was distributed by a network of pipes for use on flights and at the airport. On 7 Oct 2010, coliforms were found in the water during routine sampling. Subsequent sampling showed further contamination at other areas in the water distribution system. An investigation was carried out to determine the scope and extent of the problem, identify the source of contamination and make sure that the water consumed at the airport was potable. Environmental inspection and observation were performed, workers were interviewed and surveillance data were reviewed. The water reticulation system was studied and water was sampled. Surveillance data showed that the contamination was localized within the airport only. Coliforms were detected at many water outlets along the various distribution lines. The pipes were flushed with disinfectant and water filters were provided to food outlets. This water contamination occurred after the onset of construction. The earthworks damaged the pipelines. After the remedial actions, the contamination was cleared and the water supply was kept safe until the completion of new pipes in July 2011.
     
    Key words: water contamination, airport, potable water

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