Borehole abstraction surrounding Chester and Ellesmere Port

colin watson made this Environmental Information Regulations request to United Utilities Water PLC
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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, United Utilities Water PLC should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear United Utilities Water PLC,

I am interested in water being abstracted from the aquifer around Chester and Ellesmere Port. I would be grateful if you could advise me on abstraction points in a 25 km radius of Chester and Ellesmere Port, together with the annual volumes of each abstraction point.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Watson

Environmental Information’s Regulations Response, United Utilities Water PLC

Thank you for your email on Thu Sep 14 2017 20:21:57 regarding your
Environmental Information’s Regulations (EIR) enquiry, please take this
email as confirmation that your query has been received and will be dealt
with accordingly.

We will aim to reply to you as soon as possible and no later than 20
working days.

Thank you,
Environmental Information’s Regulations (EIR) Team.

This is an automated response, please do not reply to this message. made the following annotations

Dear Environmental Information’s Regulations Response,

A gentle reminder that I have not yet heard back on this FOI.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Watson

Dear Environmental Information’s Regulations Response,

This request has been outstanding for some time now, I would welcome a reply.

Please could you escalate it internally.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Watson

Dear Environmental Information’s Regulations Response,

This FIO is now long overdue, please could you advise progress. It is most concerning that the information I have requested is not readily available since it is standard operational data. If you are unable to respond by the end of the year I will escalate to OFWAT.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Watson

Jain, Rajat, United Utilities Water PLC

Please quote any Legal reference stated in the

e-mail subject header in all communications



Dear Mr. Watson,


Re: Your request for information


We write to you in response to your request concerning water being
abstracted from the aquifer around Chester and Ellesmere Port.


We apologise for the delay in responding as unfortunately this got mixed
up with a number of your other requests.


Regrettably, we must formally advise that under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004, Regulation 12(5)(a), we are unable to
disclose this information on the basis of the threat to public safety in
doing so.


With any EIR request, we must always apply the public interest test to
decide whether or not the interest of the public to be made aware of this
information would outweigh the need to maintain the exception. With
regards to the issue of public safety, we feel in this instance, making
the public aware of such locations and abstraction points would pose a
high risk to public health and safety and therefore, maintaining the
exception outweighs that of making the information available.


Should you consider that that we have not adequately complied with our
obligations under EIR, you have the right to ask us to carry out an
internal review, by writing to David Hannon Head of Legal, United
Utilities, Legal Department, Grasmere House First Floor, Lingley Mere
Business Park, Lingley Green Avenue, Great Sankey, Warrington, WA5 3LP.
Alternatively, you may find it easier to e-mail us directly on
[1][United Utilities request email] and your review request will be forwarded on to
Mr Hannon.


Your request for review should explain why you wish a review to be carried
out, and should be made within 40 working days of receipt of this letter,
and we will reply within 40 working days of receipt. If you are not
satisfied with the result of the review, you then have the right to make a
formal complaint to the Information Commissioner.


Finally, kindly acknowledge receipt by return of e-mail.


Yours sincerely’






Rajat Jain

Data Protection & Fraud

Legal Department

United Utilities


show quoted sections

Dear Mr Hannon,

As you will probably know, fracking involves the injection of thousands of tons of liquid into the ground. The recent application by IGas confirmed that significant quantities of the liquid is a rust inhibitor to protect the well, and a biocide to protect the gas as it seeps out of the rock. These components of the fracking liquid (~10%) are classed as "acutley toxic to life" (Isocyanate, cumene, ethylebenzene are quoted). Statistics from the North Sea indicates that 38% of wells have some failure to the surface, the failure underground (well to aquifer) is obviously much higher, but remains unquantified.

The IGas well in Ellesmere Port is 5 km from an site shown on the EA map as extracting 5 million tonnes of water a year for human consumption. This was not considered in the application, and was overlooked by the EA in their assessment. Other wells exist in the area. I have raised it as an issue with United Utilities and they have sais they will make a submission to the CW&C Council, but have not yet done so. I have also raised this with the EA via my MP, and the EA remains silent. In general they beleive the industries view that casing failure is rare, which is the case, but American experience demsonstrates that this is not the cause of transmission, which is along the surface of the casing or via geological faults, up into the aquifer.

Clearly, Water Companies have a responsibility to protect the water they supply to the public, both now and into the future (i.e. expansion of borehole extraction to meet the needs of an expanding population).

My initial request was to identify additional wells that need to be considered in current and future applications. Since you are (understandably) unwilling to provide information on location of wells, please can you offer an alternative approach that ensures the safety of the water supplied to the public. These could include willingness to participate in future aplications, willingness to give evidence in enquiry, or even provide input to the current Select Committee on fracking regulation which requests submissions by 14th March 2018.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Watson