After Pipe Cleaning, Muddy, But Safe, Water

chey district were greeted with an unpleasant surprise this weekend when they turned on their taps and received rust-colored, murky water, villagers and officials confirmed.

Living in the district’s Boeng Tompun commune, Hun Sovana, 29, said the muddy water has flowed from his faucet and those of his neighbors since Saturday, forcing him to wait 20 to 30 minutes in order to allow the particles suspended in the water to settle. He said the reason for the dirty water has baffled many residents and added extra time to daily tasks such as washing clothes, cooking meals and drawing a clean cup of water.

“Before it happened, I drank the water from the tap but right now I have to boil the water. I worry it will affect my health,” he said Monday.

However, municipal officials said the muddy water was an inconvenience to drinkers and bathers but not a health hazard. Ek Sun Chan, director of the water supply for Phnom Penh Municipality, said he had staff check and confirm the rumor but said the supply was not a danger to residents.

The reason for the murky liquid stems from pipes that were shut off to the water supply, cleaned and then filled again on Saturday. He said the cloudy color likely comes from the sediments left at the bottom on the pipes and should clear up soon. He said people should allow the particles to settle first before drinking the water.

“The water is muddy but it doesn’t smell awful,” he said Tuesday. “After the cleaning, tonight [Tuesday night] I think that it will be good.”

Khiut Vuthiarith, director of the Phnom Penh water supply department of production and distribution, said more than 400 families have been affected in Borng Tom-

pun commune and that increased water pressure through the pipes kicking up the settled dust and dirt is likely to blame for the cloudy


In the meantime, Om Sophat, 35, of Tnout Chhrum village in Boeng Tompun commune, will have to live with the opaque water, which he said scared his children and niece from taking a bath.

“If the water supply authority cleans the water [pipes] they should tell the villagers,” he said.


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