Colombia: 24,000 people sue local government after drinking water contaminated with faeces for 20 years

Administration taken to court by local residents for failing to connect the town and its two neighbouring districts to a clean aquaduct

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 19 November 2015 16:47 GMT
Residents said they knew the water was contaminated but no one listened to them
Residents said they knew the water was contaminated but no one listened to them (Getty Images)

A Colombian town has filed a class action lawsuit against local government authorities after it was revealed they had been drinking water contaminated with faeces for at least 20 years.

Around 10,000 people in the village of Granizal and 14,000 in the El Pinar and Manantiales districts on the outskirts of the city of Bello launched the legal action.

Laboratory tests by a local university showed e.coli and human faeces present in the area's water supply.

According to Colombian media, the government and local utility companies failed to connect Granizal and the two districts to a local aqueduct providing clean water.

Scientists at the University of Antioquia said the tests confirmed the town had been drinking unsafe water for at least 20 years.

Professor Leidy Avila told Radio Caracol said: "It was determined that they are consuming water with human excrement, so the pollution is very serious".

A local community leader in El Pinar, Miguel Rodríguez Serrano said they had known the water was contaminated for years but that authorities had refused to do anything.

He told El Tiempo: “We have always known that the water was contaminated and we have made complaints, but they just don’t care.”

He said several people have died in the town because of the pollution.

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