Water deliveries to village stopped after stink crackdown on local company

Homes of about 150 locals at the Meža miers village in Inčukalns Municipality, central Latvia, have been left without water deliveries after the State Environmental Service stopped a local oil purification company in response to complaint about smells, the Zemgale Regional Television reported July 27.

Locals have complained of a smell coming from the facilities of the nearby Vangažu nafta company - which imports and purifies oil products from Russia - for years, but after authorities halted its activities they no longer receive drinking water from the company-owned well. 

For about a week now locals make do with water brought in in barrels, which poses no small inconvenience.

"We have 13 children aged up to 18 at our homes. The youngest of them is just five months old. There are also people who have trouble going down to get the water. And we too are tired at the end of the day and want to wash ourselves. But we go to fetch the water using buckets," said Regīna, a local.

The municipality owns water purification facilities, and the villagers pay it for purification and delivery. But seeing as Vangažu nafta own the actual well, locals saw water deliveries halted, which may pose insurmountable problems when the heating season arrives.

"We don't have legal ties with Vangažu nafta, even though we've tried striking an agreement and cover their expenses. We haven't had any success, however," said Kārlis Spravņiks, head of the municipal Vangažu avots company. 

The municipality doesn't accept responsibility over this. Locals should solve their water problems on their own, seeing as all but every single apartment in the two buildings is privately owned, said Oskars Kalniņš, a municipal representative. 

Should the company make a new well, costs would skyrocket, plus locals owe the water company several thousands of euros, said Kārlis Spravņiks. 

Nevertheless the Environmental Ministry, also in charge of matters municipal, says that Vangažu avots cannot refuse to make a new well for the locals, as municipalities are tasked to deliver drinking water and it doesn't matter who owns the actual living spaces. 

Vangažu nafta was banned from importing and purifying oil products after local complaints over the smell. The company is, however, also involved in a commercial dispute with foreign owner Sergei Klyuchkov, who has gone to court over raiding against majority shareholder Arta Jamsena after the proportion of the shares he owns quickly shrank last fall. 

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