Coliform bacteria in drinking water in Lund

I end my rather long hiatus – just noticed it lasted almost 1 year (!!!), to write about the the pleasantry we’re living in these days here in Lund. This thing inevitably reminded me of a certain other event happened in the area around my house in the countryside in Tuscany that lasted for (if I’m not wrong) 2 summer seasons in a row. First of all I must apologise to the readers of my blog, 3 people or maybe 4 in total, for not having given any account of my life whatsoever in the past year. Actually I did in Italian, but I found it bothersome to translate everything into English (ohhh, if only all the readers of this blog spoke English!!). I have plenty of news and lived thousands of new experiences, even though they kept me a ‘little bit’ busy, I dare say. Now, with more than two thirds of my thesis written I can allow myself an hour to keep this blog up do date (but don’t get used to it, since knowing how I am I will write the next entry in 6 months!). Ok, ready, steady, go!

Yesterday night around 7 pm I came back home from a long walk to and from downtown (around 7 kms) and I felt like something was happening. Maybe the fact of living 500 metres far from a supermarket and seeing people with trollies full of bottled water might have said something to me but, bearing my clumsiness in mind, it didn’t. I switched the laptop on to go back to study and saw that one of my friends had posted a link to the news published by the agency taking care of drinking water, wastewater and handling waste management in the the south on FB asking whether he was right in understanding that some bacteria were found in the drinking water in Lund and other 5 communes and that we were advised to boil our water. I read the news, astonishing myself with the beauty and accessibility of the Swedish language for a non-Nordic person (only to find out later that they also have their homepage in English) and indeed it looked like there are some bacteria but they didn’t know what kind yet and they would have tested the water again this morning. Obviously, a whole list of what to do with boiled and not-boiled water was posted in both languages on the website, for the inexperienced ones. What astounded me was the promptness with which the authorities dealt with the situation. I still wonder why this bewilders me at this point in time, since I’ve been living in a country which is so attentive to the well-being and comfort of its people, in all senses. Anyhow, as soon as I read the news the social network started bursting with new posts from other authorities (like the Police) on the boiling of water for security reasons, as well as taking other measures. Plus, seeing the importance of the situation, I even got an email from AFB (roughly defined as a student housing agency here in Lund) repeating everything I already knew. This morning on the VASYD homepage they wrote that they found out a higher amount of coliform bacteria in our water, though they are further investigating on their nature. They have (even) just posted a series of FAQs, some of them actually bizarre (-_-)… Even if it may not be a dangerous situation, the reply has been prompt and throrough. Evidently, the fact that they have found this weird amount of bacteria in the water since last Friday allowed us to drink rivers of it in the past 3 days and it may as well be that I’ll start …well, you got it (although I’d love to write it publicly on a blog, LOL ), but after the past three months, let’s say I’m used to it.

Switching to what this happening reminded me of, I believe that my Italian close friends who are reading this might have already figured it out. For the others, here it is what happened. I don’t really remember the actual time frame, but I’m sure it happened for (at least) two summer seasons in a row, the fact that the only tap from where drinking water sprang in the whole house started spitting such smelly water as to make the food rinsed in it (though being cooked at high temperature afterwards) stink and taste like rotten fish. The reaction of the 5-house village (if it can even be defined as such) was given by the righteous claims put forward by only one of the families living there about the quality (and in recent summers, even the quantity) of the water provided by Publiacqua (the Italian alter-ego of VASYD). This reaction was: countless calls to call centers where we had to explain everything from beginning to end everytime, only to be assigned a lazy, indolent technician to pass by the houses and test the water while shaking his head telling us we were crazy because it was utterly impossible to find anything in the perfectly balanced water they were providing us with. At the end of it, after 2 years of periodically calling, finally a qualified technician found out that something was wrong with the water and they did what they should have had a lot earlier. With this degree of efficiency, the only thing left for us to wonder about is asking ourselves how much sh*t we must have drank while being told that we were being overly worried over a trifle. And, please, do n0t think or say that it’s because it’s the countryside..or anything like that. Because in the years of my life spent living in Florence, I can’t count the times when the so-called drinking water was yellowish, brown, stinking or carried soil dust as to make it grind between our teeth. With never a warning or advice on boiling it, unless we (the citizens) had enough of it and decided to do it anyway or to call the agency (and periodically being laughed at by them).

Well, this is just an account of how two different parts of the world deal with similar situations. Obviously I risked my credibility trying to compare Sweden with Italy, but I can as well say that these times credibility is overrated (LOL). With this said, you are to decide whether we drank harmfully compounded water without anyone telling us for a certain amount of time or not. At the end of the day, no matter how hard one tries to present the facts, each and everyone have their own account of what is and what is not “real”.