Thames Water tells hundreds of Surrey households not to drink tap water

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More than 600 households in Surrey have been told not to drink their tap water after tests carried out by Thames Water.

The company said results on Thursday indicated “a possible deterioration in quality” of drinking water “in some areas”.

A total of 616 houses in and around the village of Bramley have been given the “precautionary” instruction not to use their water supply for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth – although they can continue to use it to shower and wash hands.

It comes after the collection and assessment of drinking water in the village following a historical fuel leak from its petrol station. The notice will remain in place while further investigations are carried out, Thames Water said.

The utility company added that letters and bottled water would be delivered to the affected properties.

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, said bottled water stations were being set up in the village. Bramley is part of the South West Surrey constituency that he represented until parliament was dissolved on Thursday.

Hunt said he had spoken with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Thames Water, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a local councillor and Asda – which operates a petrol station on the site of the fuel leak.

Complaints from local people about the fuel leak date back to 2021, and Hunt said it posed a risk to the broadband and telephone services of 880 BT customers as the company’s ductwork passes the site.

Tess Fayers, Thames Water’s operations director for the Thames Valley and home counties, said: “We are asking 616 Bramley properties not to drink the tap water following recent water sampling results. The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to reassure residents that this is a precautionary measure.”

She said the company was identifying sites to set up bottled water stations and “replacing sections of our pipes on Horsham Road to reduce the risk to our customers”.

A Waverley borough council spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Thames Water and other agencies to try to mitigate the impact on residents, and we will support residents wherever possible.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work closely with Thames Water and other partners to address the issues we inherited after acquiring the Bramley PFS site.

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“We recognise the impact this has had on the residents of Bramley and share their frustrations. We are committed to working with all parties to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”

It comes after South West Water issued a “boil water” notice for about 17,000 households in Brixham, Devon, amid a parasite outbreak caused by a contaminated water supply. The number of confirmed cases of cryptosporidium had now reached 100, the UKHSA said on Thursday.

The Guardian revealed a week ago that Thames Water had sent samples of water from south-east London for lab testing after dozens of people reported becoming unwell with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea in Beckenham.

Thousands of homes in Surrey were left without water in November after Storm Ciarán, with more than a dozen schools forced to close.

Hunt is running for re-election in the new seat of Godalming and Ash, which will replace his former constituency.


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