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  • by Trevor Loveday

Drinking water watchdog reports "significant breaches"

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), in its latest report, has highlighted failures at 18 treatment works in the control of levels of bacteria derived from feces. These were among other “significant compliance breaches and a selection of water quality events considered to have learning for the wider industry.”

In its final quarter report for 2022, the DWI described a “recurring theme” for the period of poor quality sampling facilities. The watchdog counselled in the its report that water companies should improve their diligence in maintaining the standard of their sampling. “By investing and replacing sample facilities proactively, companies reduce the risk of occurring this additional regulatory burden and cost,” it wrote.


The inspectorate pointed out that a number of companies were “unable to inspect and repair assets due to a lack of resilience in their systems.” It reported the impact of a freeze/thaw event in December 2022 and how companies varied in their capability to cope with the event.


The report documents the outcomes from a polyfluoroalkyl substance ((“forever chemical”) polyfluoro contamination event. The company involved, according to eh DWI, had failed to consider constraints at the site that made its blending (dilution) assumptions incorrect. That led to consumers being supplied water containing PFAS at above guidance levels.


Herbicide contamination featured in three instances covered in the report. In two of those the companies were advised review their regeneration and dosing strategies for activated carbon treatment – powdered (PAC) and granular (GAC) In a third instance where there was no activated carbon treatment available the DWI recommended the company expedite investment in PAC plant.


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