An investigation into why homes in Bolsover were left with discoloured water has found it was caused by a local contractor with a digger.
Residents on the Oxcroft Estate were left with discoloured water in their homes for up to a week earlier this month and had to buy in bottled water.
Claims were made by residents that it had been caused by seismic surveys being carried out in the area by chemical firm Ineos.
But Severn Trent Water said it believed the discolouration had been caused by a burst water pipe. The water company told Bolsover District Council that there was no evidence to suggest that damage was caused to pipes – or that the surveys played a part in the discolouration.
A spokesman for Ineos said the work it had been carrying out was over three kilometres away from the reported leak and insisted it was not linked to its activities.
And today a spokesman for Ineos said: “Ineos Shale has been made aware that Severn Trent has finished its investigation into the recently reported water leak in Bolsover.
“It concluded the damage was caused by a local contractor, not related to Ineos, who burst a pipe with a digger, equipment that the Ineos survey team does not use.
“The unfair commentary on this issue from the anti-fracking lobby is a prime example of altering reality to suit their point of view.
“Ineos Shale remains committed to safe and community-conscious works as well as responsive and informative consultation and liaison.
“We sincerely believe shale gas development can transform the UK’s industrial sector and can bring much needed jobs and investment to the local area.”
A spokesman for Severn Trent said the digger went through a private water pipe in the middle of a field.
“That drew the water through our network more quickly than normal and stirred up the sediment for a short period of time,” the spokesman added.
At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner asked Theresa May if she was aware that Ineos had been accused of creating a ‘massive deterioration in the water supply’ on the Oxcroft Estate. Mr Skinner also called on the Prime Minister to ask Ineos to halt work while an investigation was carried out.
The Prime Minister responded by saying she was sure it would be ‘properly looked into’.
In response to Mr Skinner’s question, a spokesman for Ineos said: “Mr Skinner is often wide of the mark. Ineos was working more than three kilometres away from the leak. There is absolutely no evidence that the leak is in anyway linked to our work.”