TEL AVIV (Jun. 24)
About a million people in the Greater Tel Aviv area have been instructed by the Health Ministry to boil their tap water until further notice, because of the high-level of E. coli bacteria in the water supply.
The order has touched off an angry dispute between Mekorot, the national water company, and the Tel Aviv municipality. The water comes from Lake Kinneret in Galilee, Israel’s natural reservoir, and is carried by Mekorot pipelines.
According to Dr. Vera Adler, head of the public health service, the E. coli count in the Tel Aviv area water supply is seven times the permissible amount.
E. coli bacteria can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms and sometimes serious complications, especially among infants and the elderly.
Adler said the high bacteria count was probably due to algae growing in Lake Kinneret and the pipeline, which interfered with the cleansing action of the chlorine routinely added to the water supply.