New pumping station project after water alert
SOUTH West Water (SWW) is to spend more than £100,000 on a pumping station to supply homes in the higher ground around St Ives after issuing a 'boil water' notice in the summer.
The notice was given to 1,500 homes in St Ives, Carbis Bay, Nancledra, Halsetown and the surrounding hamlets in July after concerns at high levels of bacteria in the underground Steeple reservoir.
SWW staff worked through the night going door to door to warn the public not to drink straight from the tap.
The notice stayed in place for four days and the water from the reservoir has been receiving extra levels of chlorine treatment ever since.
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Now the company has announced a "complex project" that will see the current Steeple service reservoir taken out of service, a full structural survey being carried out and then a new pumping station being installed "to maintain security of supplies".
A SWW spokesman said it is currently carrying out preparatory construction work at the site on moorland above St Ives and Carbis Bay.
The spokesman said: "The plans we are putting in place are focused on us not disrupting the supplies to our customers in the area."
She said the pumping station alone will cost around £100,000.
SWW has said investigations at the site after July's incident showed damage to the service reservoir's lining, which keeps it free from contamination from the surrounding soil.
SWW's spokesman said: "We issued the 'boil water' notice as a precautionary measure and it was lifted after a few days.
"Initial external investigations identified a couple of areas where there appeared to be some damage to the membrane of the service reservoir, which was immediately repaired.
"Since the incident we have been maintaining chlorine levels at a slightly elevated level and have been taking samples on an increased frequency.
"All of the samples since the incident have met the relevant quality standards. Once we have installed the pumping station, we will be able to take the reservoir out of service for a full internal inspection.
The company was criticised by residents and one Carbis Bay councillor for its response to the incident at the time, but it insisted it had responded quickly and effectively.
It said that when higher levels of coliform bacteria – used to indicate contamination in the water industry – were found at the covered reservoir, it immediately informed Cornwall Council and the Drinking Water Directorate. Staff worked throughout the night to issue 'boil water' notices.