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Major investment to benefit North Devon's tap water

31st October 2017

image depicting A granular activated carbon filter under construction

Work has started on a £6.3million project to deliver even better drinking water to customers in North Devon.

South West Water is investing £6.3million at Northcombe Water Treatment Works, near Okehampton, to install six new granulator activated carbon filters.

Granular activated carbon is a specially engineered 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 Roadford reservoir, which supplies the water treatment works.

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 in North Devon."

Water that has passed through the GAC treatment process will start being introduced into supply from October 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

  • Northcombe Water Treatment Works is South West Water's fifth largest water treatment works and supplies large areas of North Devon including Barnstaple, Bideford and Torrington
  • The works produces around 22 megalitres of water a day (Ml/d) during the winter and up to 45 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