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Water restrictions in Californian city lifted after contamination scare

11-24-2010 16:55 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Bartow, a small city in southeastern California, lifted a ban on water consumption Tuesday night in most of the city, although authorities have not established the cause of contamination that prompted the ban.

The desicion was announced by Mayor Joe Gomez, who said facilities dispensing free bottled water would close at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Restrictions remained at the Vetetans Home but were expected to be lifted Wednesday morning.

The authorities advised 40,000 residents in the city to flush their water systems before drinking or using their tap water for cooking. They should also dispose of any ice or juice made with the contaminated water.

The drinking water system in the city was found last Thursday to have the presence of an excessive level of perchlorate, a chemical which is usually found in rocket fuel and defense manufacturing. Golden State Water Company (GSWC), which was responsible for supplying water in Barstow and the surrounding area, was notified.

Perchlorate has been shown to interfere with the uptake of iodide by the thyroid gland, which could lead to adverse effects on hormone levels. Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not help.

The city, as well as Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, have declared a state of emergency.

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