Toxic water scandal hits Italian region

Mar 28, 2014
Tourists take water from a public fountain in front of Ancient Colosseum in central Rome, on August 20, 2011

An Italian official was forced Friday to reassure residents their water is safe to drink, after tests showed that toxic waste had leaked into the supply in the central region of Abruzzo.

Following a series of alarming reports, regional governor Gianni Chiodi said that water was "no longer poisoned" and was of "excellent quality".

Tests published this week showed had infected the water supply of some 700,000 people in the Abruzzo region—more than half the territory's population—between 2004 and 2007, after industrial waste buried for decades leaked into the water supply.

Montedison, now known as Edison, is accused of burying some 250,000 tonnes of toxic and industrial at a facility in Abruzzo, which has been open since the 1960s.

Some 19 Montedison executives are currently on trial as a result of the investigation into the leaks.

Forest rangers and environmentalists from the WWF first reported finding traces of in the water supply in 2007.

These initial tests led to a broader investigation, the results of which were released Wednesday by Italy's state public health institute.

The Corriere della Sera daily said the chemicals found in the water supply could affect the nervous system, the liver and kidneys and are suspected of being carcinogenic, although no cases of illnesses linked to the pollution have yet been reported.

"Knowing 700,000 people might have drunk polluted water for years is terrifying," Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti told the Il Mattino daily.

Explore further: Italy churchmen plead for aid in 'Triangle of Death'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dangerous chemicals found in south China river

Jul 06, 2013

(AP)—Residents and water plants along a river in southern China that is used as a drinking source have been warned not to use the river's water after authorities detected excessive amounts of two dangerous chemicals.

Yangtze river pollution sparks panic in China

Feb 08, 2012

A cargo ship spilled acid into China's longest river last week, contaminating tap supplies and sparking a run on bottled water in eastern China, the government and state media said.

Saving Earth's water from toxic waste

Aug 20, 2013

Scientists have devised a better way to protect groundwater from acids, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, helping to secure the Earth's main freshwater supply.

Recommended for you

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

8 hours ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

Dec 19, 2014

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Scottingham
not rated yet Mar 28, 2014
sure would be nice if they said which chemicals they detected

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.