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Background Info

Drinking Water Quality Regulator

The role of the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) is to ensure that Scottish Water complies with duties in relation to the quality of water supplies to households in Scotland, and to ensure that drinking water is not only safe but is pleasant to drink and has the trust of customers.

We have previously raised concerns about the taste and odour of drinking water in Badenoch and Strathspey with Scottish Water. Despite conducting a full audit, the DWQR found no issues with the treatment works which it said were working within normal parameters. It took the intervention of a third party – our MP – to request an independent survey, which eventually revealed that the quality of the drinking water was substandard. This experience leads us to have concerns about the role of the DWQR and how it investigates complaints. These concerns include whether investigations test only for safety, but ignore concerns about the taste and odour. It does not instil the level of trust that we believe consumers should be able to have in their water supply.

Research into chloramination of drinking water

We are also aware that Scottish Water proposes to introduce a process of chloramination to improve the quality of drinking water.

This raises separate concerns for us. The chloramination process involves a combination of chlorine and ammonia and can form toxic by-products, including cancer carcinogens. This process is being banned in some states in the USA as it has been shown that the by-products can be connected to a range of health concerns including weakening the immune system and disrupting the central nervous system.

Chloramines can’t be removed by quick boiling your water or by leaving it out in an open container as is recommended for chlorine. We are particularly concerned about the potential impact this may have in rural areas of Scotland which are not connected to the mains sewerage network.

We believe that the safety of chloramination should be independently researched before it is introduced as a measure for improving the quality of drinking water and are calling on the Scottish Government to commission such research.