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Water company fined over "unfit" supply

[Tuesday 23 May 2006]

YORKSHIRE WATER has pleaded guilty at Harrogate Magistrates Court to supplying water unfit for human consumption.

Yorkshire Water
Yorkshire Water fined over "unfit" supply

The charges were brought under the Water Industry Act 1991, following an incident that involved the supply of discoloured water to consumers in the Harlow Moor area of Harrogate in February 2004.

The prosecution arose from an investigation of the incident, carried out by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). Yorkshire Water Services carried out planned work on the distribution system in the area to replace two flow meters which, due to a valve being in the wrong position, resulted in an interruption to supply.

According to the DWI, this action resulted in a supply of water which was discoloured. The Inspectorate added: "The valve that was in the wrong position was not properly checked prior to the work being carried out. This is not the first occasion where the company have failed to properly check the status of valves prior to work being carried out despite recommendations from the Inspectorate over previous incidents."

This demonstrates our firm commitment to consumers and to the safety and acceptability of tap water

Jeni Colbourne - Chief Inspector of Drinking Water

A number of consumers found the appearance of the water so unpleasant that they rejected it for drinking and food preparation purposes.

In response to the verdict, Professor Jeni Colbourne, Chief Inspector of Drinking Water, said: "DWI will investigate and consider prosecution in all cases where consumers receive water which they regard as unfit for consumption.

"I am satisfied with the outcome of the hearing. This demonstrates our firm commitment to consumers and to the safety and acceptability of tap water."

The Company was fined £2,000 on each of three counts and ordered to pay £9,051 toward prosecution costs.

The Inspectorate intends to make the results of its investigation publicly available in due course.

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