Thousands of islanders warned not to use tap water amid fuel leak

Scottish Water is issuing bottled water to residents and urging against using tap water for drinking, cooking or washing.

Residents have been told to stop using tap water in the Outer Hebrides following a fuel leak from a generator.

Scottish Water teams have been working through the night to distribute bottled water to over 1,000 homes and businesses in Benbecula and northern South Uist affected by the water quality warning.

Customers served by Benbecula Water Treatment Works have been advised to stop using their tap water for drinking, cooking or washing as a precaution, until further notice.

This includes stopping the use of boiled water.

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

Work is now under way to flush the local water network and water samples are being taken for analysis at Scottish Water’s specialist laboratories.

Scottish Water teams are working with the consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Western Isles about the recovery effort.

Pop-up water tanks are being maintained at Balivanich Community Hall; Old Balivanich School; Liniclate Community School and at 6 Dun Mor, West Gerinish. 

Customers can take containers to the sites to collect water which must then be boiled before use and within 48 hours.

Additional supplies of bottled water are being set up at the Old Balivanich School and further door-to-door distribution of bottled water will take place on Thursday night, alongside a letter with a further update for affected customers.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “We have mobilised a full incident response team in order to support our customers and restore normal service via the water network as soon as we can be confident that the islands’ drinking water is meeting its normal high standard.

“We would like to acknowledge the enormous assistance we have already had from our island-based contractors, our other emergency response partners and the local community.

“Additional specialist resources have been brought on to the island and further Scottish Water staff and contractors will arrive today. We have been able to supplement normal supplies of bottled water on the island – and are making arrangements to continue for as long as is required. Pop-up water tanks will also continue to be maintained and replenished.

“We would like to apologise to customers for the significant inconvenience that we know the need for these measures will be causing. Our focus is on providing as much support as we can, while we work to restore normal service as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Any customers who require additional support due to a medical condition or disability, are encouraged to sign up to Scottish Water’s Priority Services Register by calling its customer helpline on 0800 077 8778.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code