22:38 / 06.04.2018.

Author: Katja Miličić

Slavonski Brod connected to alternative water plant

Local mothers are planning a protest on Saturday to call attention to the town's environmental issues (Photo: Ivica Galovic/PIXSELL)

Local mothers are planning a protest on Saturday to call attention to the town's environmental issues (Photo: Ivica Galovic/PIXSELL)

Foto: - / Pixsell

Slavonski Brod residents are still getting their water from tanker trucks, although test results have shown that the level of hydrocarbons in the town's water system was within acceptable limits for use.

Although the water should be safe for washing, it has not been confirmed yet whether it is safe for drinking. The national water company, Hrvatske vode, is working to restore clean water to households. The town’s water system has been connected to a water plant in Sikirevci. Water authorities still have several more tasks to complete before service can be restored.

“We've connected the pipeline from Slavonski Brod with the Sikirevci water plant. Right now were disinfecting the water tanks in Bidsko selo, which we need to push the water toward the water supply network in Slavonski Brod. We're doing some pressure tests and on Monday, we will disinfect a 40 km section of water pipe. After we perform all the tests and get approval, within about 15 days we'll be ready to release around 100 liters of water per second toward Slavonski Brod," said Stjepan Đuroković, managing director of Hrvatske Vode.

Slavonski Brod has been struggling with air pollution coming from a Russian oil refinery across the border for years and the water contamination has pushed community activists to step-up their efforts. A group of local mothers is planning a protest on Saturday afternoon.

“We're inviting everyone who wants to support our cause to join us between 3 and 6 p.m. tomorrow,” said Ivana Smolčić Jerković, the leader of the activist group.

Activist Mladen Sudar is frustrated with the government’s lack of action on his community’s environmental troubles.

“We're doing this because nothing has been resolved in nine years. We made some demands and none of them have been met and we have no choice but to head for Zagreb. The point is to keep fighting,” says Sudar.

Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, who has been criticized by the mayor of Slavonski Brod over the handling of an oil spill last week, says the public has been briefed on everything that investigators know right now about what happened and whether the spill was the cause of the water contamination. Firefighters recorded a video of the clean-up site which some say shows that the leak was much larger than the 200 liters the oil company Crodux claims escaped from a pipeline. Minister Ćorić says the only failure he has come across on the part of services and agencies is that firefighters did not pass on the video footage to the administration.

“This happened on March 28th and 1:30 pm, when, I believe, the environment inspector was right there, on the scene," Ćorić said.

Asked about the next steps that will be taken, Ćorić said,"Right now, were waiting on the outcome of the investigation by the Interior Ministry and the State Prosecutor's Office."

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