Watchdog warns of increasing contamination of Scottish drinking water

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SCOTTISH water has come under fire from the official safety watchdog for a “deterioration throughout the water supply system”.

A report by the water regulator reveals 53 significant, serious and major incidents across Scotland in 2014.

Water quality standards of coliform bacteria, an indicator of contamination, were breached an astonishing 40 during that time.

That is more than double the number from 2013 when it was breached 17 times.

 

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A report by the water regulator reveals 53 significant, serious and major incidents across Scotland in 2014. Image by Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com

 

Drinking water quality regulator Sue Petch has launched legal enforcement action because of an “unacceptable” level of faecal parasites and a “very disappointing” number of incidents at one Aberdeenshire water works.

Meanwhile the E. coli bug, known to cause infections, was found in single samples at Mannonfield and Perth.

The regulator said she “will be monitoring performance very closely and if necessary will consider the need for regulatory intervention”.

Ms Petch continued: “I am disappointed to have to report this position and have requested that Scottish Water examine disinfection processes, in detail, at all of its treatment works.”

Scottish Water said equipment is already being upgraded at some sites and insisted 99.89 per cent of all samples taken in 2014 met the regulatory standards.

Simon Parsons, the company’s customer planning director, said: “We undertake detailed investigations into all water quality issues to understand the cause – as well as working proactively and taking steps to avoid such issues occurring.

“We will continue working with the [Regulator] to help us focus on the areas we need to improve on.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said “there is no room for complacency” but added they have confidence that Scottish Water’s planned investments will deliver significant improvements.

The report did not include last month’s major incident when 6,000 people in North Lanarkshire were left without tap water for two days.

The water was contaminated by what was described as an “oily based substance”. The cause is still being investigated.

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