Concentration of perfluorooctane sulphonate in the Stapleford and Great Shelford water supply

Tracey Brown made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Cambridge Water Company plc
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The request was partially successful.

Dear Cambridge Water Company plc,

I understand that information requests to Cambridge Water do not come under the Freeodom of Information Act. This information request is made under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) as it relates to Human Health & Safety.

I have read Cambridge Water’s official statement in response to a report published in today’s Guardian newspaper about high concentrations of perfluorooctane sulphonate in Stapleford and Great Shelford water.

Please can you supply me with the following information:

1. The date upon which Cambridge Water first became aware that the site at Duxford Airfield fell within the tier 3 risk category for perfluorooctane sulphonate concentration.
2. Any information you have concerning when the problem at the Duxford Airfield site may have first surfaced.
3. The date upon which the Duxford Airfield site was taken out of commission.
4. A list of people or organisations external to Cambridge Water who were informed of the issue and when they were told.
5. Evidence confirming that the “blended” water supplied to homes in Stapleford and Great Shelford did not breach regulatory limits along with dates and locations that this evidence was gathered.
6. Desciption of the additional treatment capability that was or is being installed to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, together with the date on which this installation work was or will be complete.
7. Specific delineation of the areas in Stapleford and Great Shelford that will have received “blended” water from the Duxford site.
8. Description of your community notification process for when there is a water quality issue. In particular, how is it decided that an issue is worthy of communication?

Yours faithfully,

Tracey Brown

Compliance Email,

Dear Tracey

 

Please find the response to your request below

The date upon which Cambridge Water first became aware that the site at
Duxford Airfield fell within the tier 3 risk category for perfluorooctane
sulphonate concentration.

o New guidance was published by DWI on 12th January 2021
o Sample results from December 2020, reported on 13^th January 2021,
confirmed that levels of PFOS in the raw water at Duxford airfield
were in the Tier 3 concentration range

 

Any information you have concerning when the problem at the Duxford
Airfield site may have first surfaced. 

We believe the presence of PFOS to be due to historical contamination from
within the localised catchment. 

 

The date upon which the Duxford Airfield site was taken out of commission.

25 July 2021 ^  

 

A list of people or organisations external to Cambridge Water who were
informed of the issue and when they were told.

o Drinking Water Inspectorate ( 31^st December 2021)
o Health Security Agency (14 January 2022)
o SCambs district council (4^th February 2022)

 

Evidence confirming that the “blended” water supplied to homes in
Stapleford and Great Shelford did not breach regulatory limits along with
dates and locations that this evidence was gathered. 

o No water supplied to any customers in the entire Cambridge Water
region, including Stapleford and Great Shelford, breached any legal
limit. 

 

Description of the additional treatment capability that was or is being
installed to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, together with the date
on which this installation work was or will be complete.

o We are installing granular activated carbon treatment which will treat
all water abstracted from the Duxford Airfield source. 
o This is in progress at present, and is due to be completed this
calendar year. 
o The Duxford Airfield source will not be reintroduced to supply until
we have extensively tested the efficacy of the new treatment process. 

 

7.            Specific delineation of the areas in Stapleford and Great
Shelford that will have received “blended” water from the Duxford site.

Description of your community notification process for when there is a
water quality issue. In particular, how is it decided that an issue is
worthy of communication?

o Cambridge Water operate within the requirements of the Water Supply
(Water Quality) regulations, enforced by the Drinking Water
Inspectorate
o These Regulations, and the Guidance associated with them, include
specific triggers and actions that we are required to take should
there be a risk that the water may not be safe to drink
o We have well established procedures and processes in place for
customer notification and dependent on the specific issue we may issue
precautionary advice. This is a rare event but may e.g include an
instruction to boil water before use or to not drink the water.
o The issue of precautionary advice is carried out following discussions
with local public health teams and the Drinking Water Inspectorate is
always informed 

 

 

Regards

Elinor

 

 

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References

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