Phosphate spill did not affect Nile water: Officials

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Apr 2015

A barge carrying phosphate capsized in Upper Egypt on Tuesday

File photo: A view of the turbid waters of the Nile, which is caused by silt from the flooding of the river, in Cairo March 21, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

Nile water is fit for human use, an official at the National Water and Sanitation Company has said after a barge carrying phosphate capsized in Upper Egypt on Tuesday.

Thoraya Shohdi, head of the quality department at the company in Qena, said samples extracted from the river at the site of the incident and nearby show “normal percentages.”

Irrigation ministry spokesman Khaled Wassef told Ahram Online on Tuesday that phosphate, which is used in mining and agriculture, is not soluble in water, adding that “there is little risk of poisoning drinking water.”

Meanwhile, the environment ministry has sent a committee to Qena to examine the aftermath of the incident.

An operations room at the ministry was set up to follow up on the situation and to coordinate between different administrative, policing and environmental bodies in the city to control the situation, state news agency MENA said.

The barge capsized after colliding with the foundations of the city's Dandara Bridge.

The captain and his deputy were able to flee to safety.

Egypt is dependent on the Nile River for its water supply. The country's annual water quota from the Nile is 55 billion cubic metres.


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