Volos water looking murky

Doubts were raised yesterday about the safety of drinking water in the city of Volos, central Greece, after a study made public by two university experts concluded that «for a large part of the year, it is not suitable.» The research, carried out by professors Constantinos Fytianos and Manassis Mitrakis from Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, found that seawater had seeped into the city’s underground water table and that drinking water was not being chlorinated properly. The academics also found evidence that suggested officials had tampered with water-quality readings. It is also alleged that the level of harmful nitrates in the city’s drinking water had not been measured at all. A Volos prosecutor had ordered the academics to carry out the study and is now studying the findings to decide if any municipal officials should face charges. However, Mayor of Volos Kyriakos Mytrou said the results of the study had been leaked in order to damage his chances of re-election in this month’s local elections. «Some people are trying to create an atmosphere which they can use as a springboard for opposition,» Mytrou said. He admitted that Volos had a problem with its drinking water but said most of the water pipe network had been replaced since he became mayor in 2000 and that cleaner water was being brought in from other areas. The case in Volos has raised fears that the checks on the quality of drinking water throughout Greece are not thorough enough. «The Health Ministry’s Central Laboratory for Public Health as well as regional laboratories have been created but are not operating,» Alexandra Katsiri, a professor of civil engineering at Aristotle University, told Kathimerini. But she played down concern that drinking water was not safe, saying that it is cleaned thoroughly in big cities. There are three stages of cleaning in Athens and four in Thessaloniki.