Reykjavík Water Shows Elevated Bacteria Levels Skip to content

Reykjavík Water Shows Elevated Bacteria Levels

Update 16.01.2018: The city of Reykjavík has informed residents it is no longer necessary to boil water. All tap water in the city is safe for all individuals to drink.

Slightly elevated levels of bacteria from soil have been detected in the cold water in various Reykjavík neighbourhoods, RÚV reports. Two samples taken by the Reykjavík Health Authority on January 12th did not meet Icelandic standards. Although the water is perfectly safe for healthy residents, the city has recommended boiling water for those with vulnerable health such as children, the elderly, and individuals with low immunity or chronic illnesses.

The increase in bacteria is likely caused by melting snow and ice following a long cold period. These conditions make it more likely for surface water to enter boreholes and contaminate groundwater. E. coli bacteria has been detected in one borehole, however this water is not pumped to the city.

Reykjavík Health Authority Director Árný Sigurðardóttir told RÚV the levels of bacteria are only slightly higher than Icelandic regulations allow “but of course we think it’s right for the public to know[…] to warn vulnerable individuals. That’s the main goal.”

The National University Hospital said in a Facebook post they had not been directly notified of the boil water advisory, rather learned of it on the evening news.

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