‘Vile’ tap water prompts flood of complaints in Ashfield

Residents are complaining about 'ghastly' tapwater in Huthwaite. Image by Joe Shlabotn.
Residents are complaining about 'ghastly' tapwater in Huthwaite. Image by Joe Shlabotn.

‘Vile’, ‘ghastly’, ‘disgusting’ – these are the words people are using to describe their tap water in Ashfield.

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Our map shows the spread of complaints across Huthwaite.

Our map shows the spread of complaints across Huthwaite.

‘Vile’ Teresa Usher

‘Ghastly’ Margaret Stone

‘Disgusting’ Jenny Raworth

37% say water ‘undrinkable’

Councillor Lee Andrerson, who has won a battle to get CCTV cameras put up in Huthwaite town centre.

Councillor Lee Andrerson, who has won a battle to get CCTV cameras put up in Huthwaite town centre.

Map infographic of where complaints are made

Picture of angry resident with glass of dirty water

‘Fowl’ tap water ‘unfit to drink’ has left Severn Trent drowning in complaints.

Residents scattered around Huthwaite are calling for action to solve their watery woes.

Huthwaite residents met representatives of Severn Trent on Tuesday.

Huthwaite residents met representatives of Severn Trent on Tuesday.

Some 38 people have told of chlorine levels making their tap water undrinkable, prompting a meeting between water company Severn Trent and local residents.

Lee Anderson, Ashfield District Councillor for Huthwaite, said: “There is an underground reservoir between Huthwaite and Tibshelf.

“They dose it with chlorine and because Huthwaite is the first village to get it we get a big hit. It’s a nightmare, It’s fowl - and people are wasting money because they’re running the taps off to clear the chlorine while others are buyign bottled water.

“They’ve been telling us for years, ‘Let it run for a minute, put it n the fridge, pour a glass and let it breathe.”

“It’s ridiculous - Severn Trent have the monopoly so people have no choice but to run the taps and pay them a massive bill, but their water is not fit to drink.”

Severn Trent said in a statement: “We take water quality very seriously, and ensuring our customers receive a top quality drinking supply is extremely important to us. In response to a small number of customers concerns, we’ve carried out extensive sampling in the Huthwaite area and all of those samples have come back as satisfactory for taste and odour.

“However, if any customers feel they’re experiencing issues with their drinking water, then they should contact us and we’d be happy to investigate further.”

In a survery we asked Ashfield residents to rate their drinking water and 95 responded. Of those, 72.7 per cent said their water chlorination levels were either noticable of ‘worryingly high’. 32 per cent even said their tap water was’undrinkable’.

At a meeting between residents and Severn Trent at Mill House Community Centre on Mill Close, representives of the water company claimed ongoing works at the underground resevoir may have affected the dosing levels of chlorine.

“They are taking samples from residents’ houses and the water supply and will meet with residents again,” said Coun Anderson.

“A resident gave them a bottle of water to drink, which they did, but they refused to comment.”

The company added: “Our meeting with Huthwaite residents gave us a chance for us to speak to them about any issues they believe they might be experiencing.

“Our water supply is constantly monitored and sampled, and meets the very high standards set by our regulator.

“However, as we’re currently carrying out essential maintenance work at the local reservoir that normally supplies Huthwaite, it is possible that some people have spotted this change in water source but we expect the work to be complete in early December.

“In the meantime, we’re happy to work with the local community on an extensive sampling programme in the area and can confirm that we haven’t found any issues with water quality as part of that sampling.”

(Sub story) What goes into Huthwaite’s water?

Severn Trent, like all water providers, must disinfect water supplies and ensure tap water is free of any microorganisms and other cantaminantants, and chlorine has been used for over a century. It’s added at the treatment works and also at various points aroudn the pipes network to ensure water remains safe.

Severn Trent said : “Some people with a more sensitive palate can detect the slightest trace of chlorine in their water. We are actively managing the chlorine levels throughout the network ensuring the safety and quality of your water supply and this does mean that there may sometimes be a slight and totally harmless chlorine taste or smell.

Keeping a jug or suitable container of fresh tap water in the fridge for a few hours will allow the chlorine to dissipate and help reduce the taste.

“Other taste and odour issues can include TCP, an earthy/musty and metallic taste and causes can vary according to area and even household plumbing. If you are experiencing similar issues us directly on 0800 783 4444.”

Fluoride is also naturally present in all water supplies, and some companies add extra flouride to bring levels up to the average of one part per million. The NHS says flouride is beneficial in water because it helps prevent tooth decay. However the substance is controvertial, with some campaigners claiming it is unnecessary and not enough studies have been made into health impacts. Studies have found these may linked to dental fluroisis (a discolouration of the teeth), to infertility, bone strength, brain toxicity and even a lowering of IQ. Fluoride is a principle ingredient in some anti-depressants.

Cloudy and fowl tasting water in Huthwaite has been said to be caused by the proximity to the water treatment plant where suppies are cleaned, while others have claimed issues with excessive chemicals coming out of the tap may be caused by the layout of pipes in some houses, and may require adjustments.

(side panel) Complaints come pouring in over water quality

This is a sample of complaints made over Facebook concerning water.

Jenny Raworth: “My water on swanson avenue is disgusting I have to let it run five mins before using it.”

Margaret Stone: “Water in Blackwell road estate is ghastly”

Kim Jones said: “Our water tastes like pond water it’s disgusting.”

Teresa Usher: “Severn Trent are insistant that it is an inside problem with the water – its the water hanging around in the pipes.”

Pete Jones-Price said: “The question is what are they putting into the water to cause this?”

Stefan Derner: “Unless the water supply to your washing machine is fed from a different company then all the water in the house flows through the same pipes. The pipes may go past the washer first before going to the kitchen.”

Joe Mason: “I fill the kettle up before bed, cos I know in the morning it’s horrible until gone 11am.”