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Yugoslavia: Clean water for Novi Sad and Vojvodina

24-06-1999 News Release 99/25

Since April, when the water supply was cut for some 90,000 residents of Novi Sad on the south side of the Danube, the ICRC has launched a number of projects aimed at ensuring that those affected have sufficient clean water.

As an emergency measure, two tanker trucks were dispatched to the area in late April. Since then, the ICRC has ordered 27 water-storage tanks, each with pipes and distribution taps, to be installed at four locations in the affected area. So far, about a dozen such tanks have been set up. Their installation is progressing as quickly as the local producer can deliver them.

At the same time, two small water-treatment stations are being planned as a means of countering the problem of excess iron and manganese in local water. Both plants will be able to treat 10 litres per second.

The Public Health Institute in Novi Sad is about to receive assistance in measuring the quality of water, soil and air. The Institute is responsible for environmental control in the province of Vojvodina, where the need for such control has substantially increased since the refineries and chemical plants in the area were hit during the NATO campaign. The equipment being procured by the ICRC for the Institute includes a highly sophisticated instrument to measure fallout from the decomposition of crude oil, an ultraviolet spectrophotometer to check the composition of water, the corresponding software and disposable laboratory material.

Finally, the ICRC is importing an oil-absorbent chemical that should eliminate the oil spilt from the damaged refinery into the area where wells providing Novi Sad's water supply are located.