Ground Water by Thingvellir Contaminated Skip to content

Ground Water by Thingvellir Contaminated

The ground and drinking water on the land of Kárastadir in the Thingvallasveit district within the boundaries of Thingvellir National Park became contaminated after employees of the sewage and blockage service Holraesa- og stífluthjónusta Sudurlands in south Iceland drained sewage fluid into a moss and shrubbery-covered moor within the water protection zone of Thingvallavatn lake on Friday last week.

A summer house by Thingvallavatn lake. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

According to testing done by the South Iceland Health Protection Authority, the water is extensively polluted with E. coli bacteria. Summer house owners in the area have to boil their drinking water and people are warned against picking berries growing there, Morgunbladid reports.

“The regulations are very clear, especially in this area where there are very strict regulations in place about water protection within the Thingvellir National Park,” said Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, director of the Environment Agency of Iceland.

She explained that it is only allowed to discard sewage fluid in specific disposal areas. The Environment Agency takes this incident very seriously.

“It is inexcusable and we consider that the company cannot in any way provide explanations that are acceptable,” said Ólafur Örn Haraldsson, ranger at Thingvellir. “Hereafter we will increase supervision. We didn’t think it was necessary until now but we will not accept something like this happening again.”

Summer house owners in the area have filed a lawsuit against the company and it has also been reprimanded by the Health Protection Authority, which is often a prelude to a company losing its operating license. The company will also be made clean up the area and pay for all testing of the water conducted by the Health Protection Authority.

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