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Safi wells could be unsafe due to sewage

Residents concerned about consequences to health

Access to the WWII shelter is unsafe. Photo: Chris Sant FournierAccess to the WWII shelter is unsafe. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Water wells in Safi have been contaminated by sewage flowing for months from an underground leak, potentially rendering “thousands of gallons” of water unsafe.

Residents who spoke to the Times of Malta said they first noticed strange smells coming from their wells late last year, which was confirmed to be sewage contamination after the authorities were contacted.

With the problem still not resolved months later, despite repeated appeals to the local council and national authorities, the residents said they were frustrated by the delays, which have left their wells unusable, and concerned about possible consequences to their health.

When contacted, Safi mayor Johan Mula said the issue had first come to light around November, when the council attempted to start works on an underground World War II shelter in the village square, only to find it flooded.

Tests confirmed that the problem was a sewage leak, but Mr Mula said the source of the leak had not yet been determined, and that the problem could be stemming from a private home or from the water mains.

The mayor acknowledged the delay in addressing the issue but said further tests were taking place this week and the council had been chasing the national authorities to get the matter resolved.

Works on WWII shelter revealed the problem

He could not confirm how many residents had been affected or how many complaints the council had received, but said the problem was likely limited to the area immediately surrounding the square, which was not home to a large number of people.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman said the case was being investigated by the Environmental Health Directorate.

“Works are rather delicate due to the unsafe access to the war shelter and hence are being carried out cautiously in liaison with the Safi local council and the Water Services Corporation to achieve further requested results,” the spokeswoman said.

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