‘Magical’ Spring With E-Coli Safe to Bathe, Not Drink: Officials

Narathiwat residents scoop water from a ‘magical black spring’ Saturday, after health officials said the spring, hailed for its magical healing properties, was safe to bathe in – but not drink from – due to a high concentration of e-coli.

NARATHIWAT — Health officials on Saturday cleared a blackwater spring hailed for its alleged magical healing properties as safe to bathe in – but not to drink out of – due to its high concentration of e-coli bacteria.

The inky black spring of supposedly curative waters in a rubber farm in Si Sakhon district, Narathiwat – a popular pilgrimage destination for Southern locals and Malaysians – was found to be polluted with e-coli bacteria Thursday. After visiting and testing the waters, public health officials said Saturday the springwater was safe to bathe in, but not drink.

“Some components of the water have properties that may heal diseases, but drinking the tainted water can lead to diarrhea,” Sommhai Boonkliang, a Narathiwat public health official said Friday.  “The three southern provinces has beliefs about sacrality, so we don’t want to affect that. We just want to add quality to these beliefs to maximize citizens’ benefit.”

On Saturday, residents set up tents near the spring as a makeshift shower stall to bathe. Others scooped up cups of the magical water to take home. According to them, the spring – consisting of a 3 meter pond and a 2 meter pond – has been a place of local hearsay and healing for over 30 years.

Sommhai recommended the water be used externally and be boiled to 100C before drinking.

“The levels of e-coli found here are above standard, and should not be released into public khlongs,” he said.

On Saturday, Sommhai said that after tests of the pond water found components of sulfur, which can be used to cure skin diseases and is found in a lotion used to treat dermatitis.

Narathiwat residents scooping water from the “magical” black spring Saturday.