Bramley water crisis to last another month

Thames Water has said it will carry out tests to make sure hydrocarbons from a petrol station fuel leak “are no longer at a level which is a risk to health”.

The water company hand-delivered letters in Bramley, Surrey, this week warning the work is likely to take a month.

More than 600 properties received “do not drink” tap water advice last month.

Residents reported a stink of fuel before a problem with a pipe underneath an Asda petrol station tank owned was discovered.

It is thought the problem could date back several years.

Thames Water has been delivering bottled water to customers at the affected properties.

It told residents health and safety was its “top priority” and it needed to be “absolutely confident there is no risk” before changing its advice.

The company said it will be doing “extensive sampling across the impacted area so we are confident the hydrocarbons from the fuel are no longer at a level which is a risk to health”.

It is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to decide how many properties to test.

Thames Water said the tests are designed to check that the drinking water is “fully compliant” with UKHSA’s guidance.

Helen Melia, who is a member of the Bramley Residents’ Action Group, wants more detail about the tests.

She said: “Is that them saying hydrocarbons in the fuel were a risk to health previously?”

Thames Water said the tap water “was safe to drink up until 30 May’s test results”.

Resident Jasmine Stuart said she was disappointed it had taken so long to get back to normal.

“We want it to be done properly. We want this stream to be sorted out, we want the smell to be sorted out, we want the underground issue to be sorted out before moving on.”

The water company has replaced a “key section” of pipes near the petrol station in the centre of the village.

It plans to replace some more pipes “to reduce the likelihood of further contamination from the fuel”.

Residents should not drink tap water or give it to their pets.

They should avoid cooking, preparing food and brushing their teeth using tap water and should not use it even after boiling it.

People can use tap water to wash and flush their toilet.

The do not drink advice will remain until Thames Water is “absolutely confident there is no risk to the water”.

An Asda spokesperson said it recognises the impact of the situation on residents and businesses and it “shares their frustrations”.

The spokesperson said: “Since we took ownership of the site we have been transparent in setting out the steps to remediation, both for the site itself and the wider village.”

They said the situation was “complex and evolving” but they are working proactively to “resolve this situation as quickly as possible”.

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