History repeats itself in the Worcester drinking water incident

The drinking water incident in Worcester in April was the most serious to involve the chemical contamination of a public water supply in the UK since 1984. An independent inquiry set up by Severn Trent Water has pinpointed shortcomings in operational practices at the city's water treatment works and several other weak links in the chain of protection upstream to the pollution source.1 Its recommendations have implications for the water industry in general as well as operators of chemical stores and waste treatment facilities. The Government's persistent failure to honour its promises to introduce additional safeguards against pollution from chemical stores has also been highlighted, and the effectiveness of the Drinking Water Inspectorate called into question.

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