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Major investment to benefit Bude's tap water

31st October 2017

image depicting A granular activated carbon filter under construction

A £5.5million project is under way to deliver even better drinking water to customers in North Cornwall.

South West Water is investing £5.5 million at Tamar Lakes Water Treatment Works, near Holsworthy, to install additional manganese removal filters, five new granulator activated carbon filters and a state-of-the-art ultraviolet disinfection system.

Manganese, which occurs naturally in the reservoir water, can cause discolouration within the water network so it is important we improve the treatment to remove it to ensure the appearance of our water to customers is consistently good.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) is a specially engineered and extremely porous material with a large internal surface area - just one teaspoon has the same surface area as a football pitch. Due to its large surface area and special surface chemistry it can remove natural and manmade organic matter sometimes present in Tamar Lakes reservoir, which supplies the water treatment works.

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection uses UV light to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses sometimes found in the untreated reservoir water.

Chris Rockey, Head of Drinking Water Quality, explained: "We already have some of the best tap water in the country but this major investment in additional treatment will deliver even better drinking water to our customers Bude and the surrounding areas."

Water that has passed through the GAC and UV treatment processes will start being introduced into supply from March 2017.

Chris added: "In the very short term, the smell or taste of chlorine may become more noticeable to some customers. For this reason, we will bring the new filters on line one at a time and blend the new and improved water with the water currently produced by the works to ensure a smooth transition."

This approach was undertaken successfully at Restormel and Wendron water treatment works in Cornwall in 2014.

Notes to editors

  • Tamar Lakes Water Treatment Works supplies Bude and the surrounding villages along that stretch of the Atlantic Highway
  • The works produces around 5 megalitres of water a day (Ml/d) during the winter and up to 8 Ml/d in summer
  • South West Water operates 29 water treatment works
  • South West Water maintains 15,300km of water mains
  • We supply our customers with around 350 mega litres (77 million gallons) of drinking water every day

Published: 31 October 2016

For further information please contact:

Press Office 
South West Water