Water companies lagging on intake protection

The protection of drinking water intakes has fallen by the wayside and Britain has lost what lead it had in monitoring technologies, a Water Research Centre (WRc) seminar heard in February. Post-privatisation, collaborative research on intake protection has ended and responsibilities for installing pollutant warning systems remain unclear.

The need for early warning of pollution threats to drinking water supplies was highlighted by an incident on the river Dee in January 1984, when a phenol discharge tainted the supplies of some two million people (ENDS Report 111, p 7). Subsequent investigations by local and national working parties advanced British thinking and expertise on intake protection.

The incident prompted the installation of a monitoring station at Manley Hall on

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