Inspection of Public Health of the Health Area of La Palma, attached to the Ministry of Health, maintains active surveillance of the quality of the water for human consumption with daily controls in the areas adjacent to the one affected by the eruption. This is one of the measures included in the Immediate Action Health Strategy for the island of La Palma, within the framework of the Special Plan for the Reconstruction of La Palma.
These controls began from the beginning of the eruptive phenomenon and the sampling is carried out both in the areas affected by the eruption, in Tazacorte, Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso, as well as in towns on the eastern slope of the island, such as Santa Cruz de La Palma, Puntallana, Breña Baja, Mazo, and to the north and south, in Tijarafe and Fuencaliente. At these last points, samples are taken to have reference or comparison elements with those of the area affected by the eruption.
In the municipalities of Tazacorte, Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso, daily controls are being carried out on the sanitary quality of the water and the storage and distribution infrastructures. Controls are being carried out with on-site measurements in drinking water tanks at the intake and reinforced with laboratory analysis.
Sentinel control points have been established in headwaters, mainly in Hermosilla and Tajuya (Los Llanos de Aridane), La Montañita (El Paso) and Las Rosas (Tazacorte). Likewise, distribution networks and deposit outlets are controlled. In this action, Public Health inspectors work in coordination with city councils and management companies.
More than a hundred samples
To date, more than a hundred samples have been processed daily, which are then analyzed both in situ and in the laboratory, using organoleptic parameters and indicators (odor, taste, color) and physicochemical (pH, conductivity, turbidity, temperature and levels). disinfectant) in drinking water. If anomalies are observed, these would be completed with microbiological indicators.
In addition to these daily analyzes, weekly samples are sent to the laboratories of the Canary Network of Public Health Laboratories of the Canarian Health Service for analysis of the broader physicochemical profile, of which about twenty have been carried out to date. These analyzes determine the concentration of metallic elements, cations, anions, hydrocarbons and other parameters or indicators such as the Langelier index.
All these controls maintain an active surveillance and the consumption of water from the supply network is currently completely safe and controls continue, so that in the event of any eventuality, the population would be informed immediately.
Given the emergency situation, the objective of this action is to guarantee the quality of the water supply and complement the control measures of the Insular Water Council in the collection and transport of underground supply water. Therefore, it will remain until the situation stabilizes and depending on the evolution of the eruptive phenomenon.
Permanent contact and coordination
To carry out this task, the Public Health inspectors, responsible for taking samples and analysis, maintain permanent contact with the municipal services and the managers involved, in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Tazacorte, to assistance, advice, review and supervision of measures and actions are planned or raised especially in the installation of supplies and alternative supplies due to the collapse of infrastructures.
In this way, this active surveillance and control allow to act in a coordinated manner and any situation that may pose a risk will be evaluated and communicated to the population in a regulated manner, in accordance with the established official procedures.
The director of the La Palma Health Area, Kilian Sánchez Sanjuan, highlights the work and involvement of the personnel of the inspection function and the Public Health laboratory in the operation established for the control of water quality from the beginning of the eruptive phenomenon , which allows to maintain an active surveillance of the supply network, guaranteeing the safety of its consumption.