By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Water authorities have cleaned and sterilised tanks in four households in a Jerash town that received polluted water last week when a cesspit overflowed and contaminated part of the area’s water network, an official said on Saturday.

Residents of Al Ketteh in the northern Governorate of Jerash complained to the water authorities about the foul odour and taste of the water they received as part of the distribution programme on Thursday evening, Jerash Water Department Director Hasan Hazaimeh said.

Teams from the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) responded to the complaints, and discovered that an area resident neglected to have his cesspit emptied out and it overflowed and sewage seeped into part of the water network supplying the four affected houses, he added.

“Our team emptied the water tanks, carried out a purification process and filled them with clean water from tankers,” Hazaimeh told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

He noted that WAJ technical teams also replaced the damaged pipes from which the sewage seeped into the water network.

Water experts and officials attribute such “frequent” pollution incidents to the intermittent pumping of water in Jordan. They noted recently that pumping water for a few hours once a week creates negative pressure in the pipe once the water flow stops, and surrounding pollutants are sucked in through ruptures in the network.

High water pressure and constant flow prevent pipelines from corrosion, they said, noting that this is not the case in Jordan.

But because of scant water resources in the Kingdom, categorised as the fourth poorest country in the world in terms of water availability, a water distribution programme was introduced in the early 1980s, under which households receive water for a few hours, usually once a week.

Meanwhile, a source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation yesterday said another case of water pollution was also reported on Thursday in Zarqa Governorate.

“Seven households in Zarqa also complained of a foul odour emanating from water they received from WAJ,” the source told The Jordan Times. He noted that WAJ teams cleaned up the roof tanks and filled them with clean water and are currently investigating the source of the pollution.