Aug 15, 2006

Bacterial Pollution Increases in Scottish Tap Water

According to an annual watchdog report, the levels of bacterial pollution in Scotland’s drinking water have risen over the last year.

In 2004, .88 percent of tap water samples contained coliforms, while in 2005 the percentage rose to .97 percent. Coliforms are a group of bacteria that includes e-coli. There were 138 failures of the coliform standard in 2005, and only 123 failures in 2004.

Not all coliforms create a health risk, but they are an important indicator of water quality. High coliform concentration indicates that more serious pathogens could be present, such as salmonella.

The head of the Drinking Water Regulator (DWQR) for Scotland, Colin McLaren, did not express concern to over the statistics. 25 of last year’s 42 water quality incidents investigated by the DWQR involved bacterial pollution. The year before there were only 28 incidents.

The DWQR is addressing the matter to Scottish Water to make sure that this downward spiral does not continue.

According to the watchdog group, water companies would be able to reduce the amount of incidents by improving equipment maintenance and water procedures. The companies should also respond quickly when failures occur in order to prevent the polluted water from reaching customers.

Scottish tap water did see improvements in color, pH and thihalomethane concentrations.