Town’s water quality to improve after £13.5m investment

THE taste and appearance of your tap water is about to change for the better as Yorkshire Water has embarked on a multi-million pound cleaning project.

The water board has started ‘flush’ cleaning 40 kilometres of Rotherham’s pipe network and updating the Victorian pipes, with works ongoing sporadically until 2020.

The project will improve water quality by reducing the presence of natural sediment in water that over time can stick to the inner lining of old cast iron pipes, the company said.

Residents are warned that while the flushing takes place their water colour may change for a few hours and are advised to run the tap until the water runs clear.

The work in Rotherham is part of a projected £13.5 million programme that will involve the cleaning of large swathes of the company’s 31,000-kilometre pipe network that stretches across Yorkshire.

David Stevenson, head of water distribution at Yorkshire Water, said: “Our mission is to provide water to people that is clean and safe to drink.

“Drinking water quality within Yorkshire is already excellent with 99.95 per cent of around 500,000 water tests we carried out in the last year meeting the stringent standards set by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. 

“However, this project will improve water quality even further.”

Yorkshire Water said water quality would be improved by reducing mineral deposits in water pipes, such as iron and manganese, which on occasion can cause discoloured water to come out of taps. 

Although this is unlikely to be harmful to health in such small traces, it can affect taste and make water appear slightly cloudy.

Yorkshire Water technicians will systematically operate valves on water mains in thousands of streets across the region.  

This will enable water to be flushed through the pipes at high speed, which stirs up and removes any historic deposits.

The water board said no road closures would be required to carry out the works and only a few days will be spent in each area, causing little disruption. 

Letters will also be sent to all residents in advance of flushing works being carried out on their street to provide further advice and information.



Mr Stevenson added: “While the flushing takes place it may cause a slight change in the colour of tap water for a couple of hours. 

“Any discolouration can be solved by running the kitchen tap until the water runs clear and can be consumed.”

Yorkshire Water's 31,000 kilometres of pipe work includes section of cast iron pipes, which are inherited from the Victorian era, and lead pipes. 

The firm is in the process of replacing hundreds of lead pipes from its network with modern plastic ones.

Nearly three quarters of tap water in Yorkshire comes from rivers and reservoirs due to the topography of the region. 

The rest comes from underground aquifers, which are based mainly in Humberside.