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Water Supply Carried Gases from Borehole

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Water Supply Carried Gases from Borehole

Reykjanes geothermal power plant.

From the geothermal area near the accident site. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Gases were carried from a borehole into the local water supply in Reykjanes, where a fatal accident occurred overnight, according to a statement from the Suðurnes Police, RÚV reports. A man was found dead in his sleeping quarters near a fish processing plant, owned by the company Háteigur. Another man, who was transported to hospital, has been discharged.

Kristinn Tómasson, senior physician for the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, reported that the investigation continues. Measurements revealed hydrogen sulfide (a colorless gas, which smells like rotten eggs and is very poisonous) and carbon monoxide in the company’s cold water supply. There was a continuous flow of water in the house, which filled with fumes. The investigation focuses on finding out how the gases were carried into the water supply.

The police note that nothing is wrong with the public drinking water in the Suðurnes area. Cleanup efforts were about to be completed at 2 pm, and there is no risk to public safety.

The pollution accident occurred overnight inside the service area of the electric utility company HS orka in Reykjanes. The company’s CEO, Ásgeir Margeirsson, told RÚV just before 2 pm there was little he could say about the matter at this stage. “This is being investigated and the appropriate response efforts are in place.”

The Suðurnes fire department was called out to help clean out the polluting gases. Faucets were opened to let out any polluting agents.

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