Canada plans to dispatch consultants to about 160 of its embassies, consulates and high commissions around the world to test the drinking water there, local media reported Wednesday.
Drinking water from taps and bottles, and in some cases from natural sources such as rain and underground aquifers, will be tested for bacteria, chemicals, radiation and other health hazards, to see if it is safe to drink, the Canadian Press reported.
The consultants will also check the sanitation of embassies' plumbing and water containers. On top of visual inspections, they will scour building inspection reports and maintenance records for past water problems.
"The purpose of the sanitary survey is to evaluate the mission' s ability to adequately treat and distribute source water in order to produce and-or deliver safe drinking water," the report quoted a tender issued by the Foreign Affairs Department as saying.
The department plans to start with about 10 of its missions in Africa. Afterward, between 10 and 20 missions will be tested each year. The work is expected to take five years at a cost of up to 2 million Canadian dollars (1.8 million U. S. dollars).
Earlier this year, Ottawa ordered tests of Canada's drinking water over concerns it may contain contaminants thought to raise the risk of cancer and other health problems.
(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2009)