Scottish Water convicted of supplying unfit water

The company was fined £1000 at Elgin Sheriff Court

SCOTTISH Water has been convicted of supplying water unfit for human consumption.

The company pleaded guilty at Elgin Sheriff Court earlier today to supplying water overdosed with sodium carbonate at Tomintoul in Moray.

The incident left locals with irritated skin and a number of businesses were closed.

Scottish Water was fined £1000 for the offence which occurred in October 2009.

The Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) investigated the incident and prepared the case for prosecution.

The conviction marks the first against Scottish Water for a drinking water offence, since the company was created in 2002.

Sue Petch, Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland, said:

“We are fortunate in Scotland to have drinking water that is of extremely high quality, and incidents of this severity are very rare. This case was the result of a number of factors that combined to cause an extremely serious water quality incident.

“Scottish Water’s treatment works at Blairnamarrow, that serves Tomintoul, was not up to modern standards and did not have the safeguards we expect. This, combined with a wholly inadequate operational response from Scottish Water, produced an incident that caused great inconvenience to the residents and businesses in Tomintoul over a number of days.

“The preparation of a case for prosecution is always a last resort for DWQR, and I sincerely hope that this case provides a clear message to Scottish Water of the seriousness of its responsibilities in protecting public health.”

Scottish Water has been prosecuted for the offence of supplying water unfit for human consumption under Section 76C of the Water (Scotland) Act 1980.

Since the incident the company has built an entirely new treatment works to supply Tomintoul, and operational procedures have been considerably improved.