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Hundreds face outside showers in water scare
Danger lurks just around the bend. Photo: DPA.

Hundreds face outside showers in water scare

Published: 22 Sep 2012 18:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Sep 2012 18:45 GMT+02:00

Hundreds of people in Berlin have been told their water is contaminated with deadly bacteria and not only will they have to get drinking water from containers in the street – they’ll have to shower outside too.

Around 388 households face the prospect of taking showers in makeshift containers placed in the streets - and may have to keep on doing so until December, the Bild newspaper said this week.

The containers set up outside the in the Gropiusstadt housing scheme in the Neukölln area of the city are to be equipped with an alternative supply of fresh drinking water which, until now, people have had to collect in canisters.

Infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria can lead to inflammation and blood poisoning which can be fatal, particularly in the weak and elderly.

The lungs, urinary tract and kidneys are affected in particular by the bug, which is resistant to most antibiotics.

It is not yet known how the water supply became infected, but property owners the Hilfswerk-Siedlung (HWS) housing association said it was probably caused during repair work.

"Despite careful examination by the authorities, the exact causes cannot be determined," said a statement by HWS.

Tap water can be used for cleaning and cooking but only if boiled first.

Residents have been told not to drink the water, nor shower in it.

The mains system is currently being disinfected, but the process is expected to take many weeks.

The glass could be seen as half-full in that no-one has become ill – but certainly half-empty for those having to shower outside as the autumn draws in and temperatures drop.

The Local/rc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:52 September 22, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Unnacceptable. Firstly, proper conditions for washing shoud be set up. Not outside in the cold. Secondly, the cost of this should then be charged to whoever's negligence caused the problem.
21:48 September 22, 2012 by coffeelover
Definitely gonna call my buddy in the CIA and have him switch the spy satellite from Middle East, to Berlin to check out the frauleins !
23:24 September 22, 2012 by romber58
I agree coffeelover,although I bet " Berlin fuer alles" would not find that amusing,

lol.
01:40 September 23, 2012 by wood artist
Now THIS would make some of those complaints about Google Street View seem a bit more valid.

wa
06:28 September 23, 2012 by rosebudnv
how can this be in the most civilized of cities? Unbelievable.
08:30 September 23, 2012 by raandy
Thankfully I do not live in that part of Berlin. If it could happen there it could happen anywhere in the city. If there was repair work on the system you would think that an analysis of the water would have been done to insure public safety.
10:25 September 24, 2012 by Zobirdie
This is COMPLETELY appalling. How could this happen? Even if it was during repairs, that is pretty damn sloppy.
09:59 September 25, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I hope they get a good lawyer. Showering outdoors in the winter is not a remedy for someone elses mistake.
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