BEIRUT: Unlicensed water companies have three months to ensure their products are safe to drink, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said Wednesday, urging them to obtain government certificates.

“We will not allow the sale of polluted water to the public,” Abu Faour said, indicating that the ministry intended to shut establishment who continued to violate safety codes after the deadline.

He also rejected accusations that the measure was depriving breadwinners of their income.

“We are keen on preserving the living of all Lebanese, especially the poor, but we will not compromise in issues related to people’s health,” Abu Faour said in a news conference from his ministry.

“There should be a solution to guarantee the safety of the people while safeguarding the livelihood of employees of water companies,” he added.

He also explained that a number of unlicensed companies were selling good quality water, but the more well-known companies were dominating the market.

He said new requirements were imposed on water companies, including securing a temporary health certificate from the ministry.

Under the temporary agreement, irregular water companies have three months to rectify their operations, and water stations will be checked and inspected regularly.
Health, interior ministries to improve drinking water

BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour and Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk agreed Monday to increase cooperation between their ministries to improve the monitoring of drinking water.

The decision was taken due to the worsening quality of potable water supplies across Lebanon. Contamination from sewage, a problem exacerbated by a rapid increase in the country’s population, has contributed to the spread of disease.

The Health Ministry will train municipality workers to monitor water sources and gather samples from water networks, which will be sent to specialized laboratories for testing. With funding from the EU and in cooperation with the World Health Organization and UNHCR, the ministry will establish laboratories for testing water.