Takeo provincial authorities have warned the public not to swim in the lake at a former quarry in Bati’s district Tnort commune after experts suggested that it contained chemical compounds which can cause some serious health risks.
The provincial environment department had been instructed to inspect the manmade pit, said Takeo provincial hall administrative director Moeng Vuthy, adding that “no conclusion has been drawn” as of Wednesday.
The clear water filling up the lake may seem safe, but it might be contaminated and can potentially harm one’s skin, he warned, without detailing the chemical elements contained in it.
“[The lake] is not natural. It used to be an abandoned quarry which transformed into a pit of water over time,” he said.
Tnort commune deputy chief Hin Orng said he had learnt that some people swam in the lake over the weekend from reports circulating on Facebook.
Speaking to The Post on Tuesday, Bati district governor Phuon Chhim said the inspection directive was issued following a report of a girl who developed urticaria after swimming in the lake, “even though the cause
of the rashes have not been determined”.
“The authorities are appealing to brothers and sisters not to swim in the lake for fear of other risks as well, such as land collapse and drowning,” he stressed.
Chhim said some people had been deceived by the lake after seeing photos on social media showing its turquoise water which resembles sea water.
“Seeing the lake, it looks so beautiful on the surface . . . photos circulating on Facebook lured people to visit the site. They washed their hands and legs, and some even bathed in it. Many people showed interest in the manmade pit,” he noted.
However, Chhim was unable to explain what caused the lake formation, “pending an investigation by experts”.
“The quarry came onto the radar last year after the government revoked the licence of an excavation operation at the site, but nobody had visited it until recently,” he said, adding that explosives were used to excavate the ground.
Chhim complained that people still visited the lake despite warnings that had been issued.
“Around the site, we can see safety hazards such as wide cracks on the ground and big rocks . . . all of which could cause slips, trips and falls. The authorities [merely] did not want anyone to encounter such dangers.”