October 28th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Some 14 water systems across the country that are contaminated with arsenic in concentrations exceeding those allowed for human consumption will have to wait until December for a permanent fix.
Four companies submitted bids on Friday to provide for the cleanup of the water systems. The winner will not be selected until December 12th.
According to Carlos Vargas, Director of Research and Development at the Costa Rican Institute for Water and Sewers (AyA), all four the companies intend to address the problem using an absorption system, where inert particles are added to the water in order to trap arsenic and prevent it from reaching customers’ taps.
The most affected water systems are those in Cañas, Bagaces, and several communities in San Carlos in the northern area of the country.
As a palliative measure, authorities have distributed so-called “Kanchan” style water filters, used in countries like India, to area residents. The makeshift filters consist of a barrel the size of a wastebasket filled with rusty nails, clay and other material through which water is poured and exits through a spigot at the bottom of the barrel.