The Cambridge water supply was contaminated with fuel in the soil

Residents complained of a „diesel smell in the water” within 24 hours of the new water main being turned on.

The water company said the water supply was contaminated with fuel.

Independent Water Networks (IWN) investigated after homes ran out of water at the Marley development in Fen Ditton, Cambridge.

IWN's Charlie Thackeray wrote in a letter to residents that a „diesel-like smell in the water” was reported 24 hours after the new pole was connected.

He noted the contamination was within healthy limits, but was removed with a flushing program.

Mr. Thackeray added: „To ensure the ongoing safety of our customers, we have arranged for the replacement of all mains laid in the area under construction, designed for use in such conditions and ensuring that the water supplied meets all water quality requirements.”

Water bottles at a community centerWater bottles at a community center

A local community center was used to store bottled water supplied to residents

According to the Director of Water Networks, new legs were added to the Marli water main supply on January 17.

After receiving reports of a „diesel-like odor in the water,” the company disconnected the newly added water mains, issued a „do not use” order to residents and began taking water samples for lab analysis.

IWN previously reported that around 320 homes were affected And bottled water was provided for everything except flushing toilets.

With the new section disconnected, the company cleaned and retested the water daily until the results showed the water was completely safe.

Two men are pulling a cart loaded with water bottlesTwo men are pulling a cart loaded with water bottles

IWN provided bottled water to affected residents after issuing a „do not use” order

Mr Thackeray said in his letter that the developer joined them in testing the soil where the water main was laid within the Marley Estate construction site.

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He explained that about 150 separate tests were conducted and „some small areas of fuel contamination were detected in six locations”.

He said: “It is impossible to say for sure where the pollution came from.

„Possibilities include plant or vehicle refueling spills or from contaminated imported refueling materials.”

The director said that although the company followed standard procedures, including disinfection and cleaning, „some contamination entered the system”.

He said: „Our tests prior to the flushing program showed levels of contamination within healthy limits, however flushing completely removed the contamination.”

Mr Thackeray apologized to the residents for the inconvenience caused by the incident.

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