Slight improvement in drinking water, new report claims

The quality of water in the UK has shown a slight improvement, according to new results published by the independent drinking water quality regulator the(DWI).

“The quality of drinking water in the Thames region is high and results in 2006 improved – 99.98% of tap samples met the standards, up from 99.96% in 2005,” said Professor Jeni Colbourne, Chief Inspector of Drinking Water, at a meeting hosted by the Consumer Council for Water Thames.

Also detailed in the report are the actions taken following investigations of “152 sub standard samples of tap water and 12 water quality incidents.”

“Our investigations have revealed some weaknesses in water supply management and maintenance arrangements, we expect improvement in these aspects to be a focus for companies going forward,” said Regional Drinking Water Quality Inspector Jim Foster.

The report claims that overall results were better for tests at treatment works, from taps and from locations where treated water is stored (service reservoirs and towers).

Just over 14,000 consumers living in the Thames region contacted their water company about a tap water quality problem (a rate of 1.24 per 1,000 population).

The rate of consumer contact for each company supplying water in the Thames region varied from 0.90 to 1.87 contacts per 1000 population. The consumer reports were mostly about the appearance and taste of tap water.

In the Midlands region, just over 17,000 consumers contacted their water company about tap water quality (a rate of 1.93 per 1000 population), and just over 9000 consumers (a rate of 1.8 per 1000) in the Southern region contacted their water company.

Companies in the various regions are working on improvement programmes bringing water supplies up to standard in respect of standards for pesticides, nitrate, irons, manganese, and Cryptosporidium regulations, the report says.

Details of the industry’s present drinking water quality improvement programme in the UK for the period 2006 to 2011 shows that in 2006, 70 out of the 80 schemes due to conclude in 2006 did so within the year. As well, four schemes planned for delivery in 2007 were completed early.

Drinking Water 2006 details seven regions, highlighting points including specific water results, maps and commentary.

The report can be downloaded from the DWI website.

Dana Gornitzki

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