Water restored after fuel leak causes days of disruption

Over 1,000 homes and businesses were affected with 85,000 bottles of water being distributed.

Water restored after fuel leak causes days of disruption in Outer Hebrides Aristotoo via iStock

Residents in the Outer Hebrides have had their water supplies restored after facing days of disruption.

Over 1,000 homes and businesses were affected by the fuel leak in Benbecula and the northern part of South Uist, with Scottish Water having distributed more than 85,000 bottles of water to the islands.

Warnings against using tap water were in place for all purposes including cooking, drinking and washing as well as boiling water.

These have now been lifted and the water is now safe to consume, Scottish Water said.

The incident began on Wednesday and the source of the problem has been traced to a fuel leak from a generator that provides a back-up power supply for a pumping station at Loch Eilean Iain.

Kevin Roy, Scottish Water’s customer service general manager, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to lift the notice in Benbecula today, after having done likewise in the affected parts of South Uist on Friday.

“We recognise that these significant and disruptive restrictions were in place for three days in the north of South Uist and for four days in Benbecula and that customers were anxious to know when they would be lifted.

“Restoring supplies safely in these circumstances unfortunately takes time and progress could only be confirmed via successive sets of sample results that were confirmed to meet all of the strict quality standards that apply.

“This was a complex and multi-faceted recovery operation, which included the cleaning of filters, but we made good progress with the work and that was reflected in the most recent sample results received, which enabled us to lift the restrictions for customers in Benbecula today.

“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to customers during this issue and assure them that we worked as hard as we could to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We again thank affected customers for their patience and co-operation.

“We would also like to thank our emergency response partners from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Highlands and Islands Airport, HM Coastguard, Comhairlie nan Eilean Siar, Caledonian MacBrayne and NHS Western Isles, who assisted us.”

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