Residents in a south Indian apartment got a boozy surprise when they turned on their tap water and smelled a strong mixture of alcohol pouring from their faucets.
Media reports from Chalakudy in the state of Kerala say 18 apartment units were affected when alcohol that authorities buried years ago leaked into a nearby well.
“We were so shocked,” Joshy Maliyekkal, owner of the apartment complex, told the BBC.
The Times of India reported that residents first discovered problems with their water Sunday afternoon. The water smelled like liquor, tasted like liquor, and it turned out it was liquor – more than 1,500 gallons of it, the newspaper reported.
Families at the apartment had used the well for years as it was the only source of potable water. V.G. Joji, a local elected official, told the Times of India that families will receive water from Kerala Water Authority in the interim.
Still, the problem affected families in the complex, Maliyekkal told the BBC.
“The children couldn’t go to school and even their parents couldn’t go to work,” he said to the British broadcaster.
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The well has been cleaned eight times, T.K. Sanu, another local official, told the Times of India, but residents told the BBC they fear it could take up to a month for it to be operational again.
Local authorities seized the booze from a bar under a court order about six years ago, Malayala Manorama, a Kerala newspaper, reported.
To get rid of it, the 1,500 gallons were opened up and dumped it in a pit near the bar, the newspaper reported.
Authorities, however, “failed to check the area around it. The officials were unaware that there was a well nearby,” Sanu told the Times of India. The liquid appears to have seeped through the soil and polluted the well water.
Per the BBC, the liquid was a mixture of beer, brandy and rum.
Malayala Manorama reported that residents filed a complaint with the local government and health department and hope to hold the authorities who dumped the alcohol accountable.
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