Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Drinking water pollution issues in Thanet

Sorry there was no post yesterday I have been looking into water pollution issues in Thanet since I published the water quality tables see http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/2009/04/thanet-water-quality-arsenic-mercury.html I have been approaching this in 3 ways.

Firstly studying the documents on the Southern Water website http://www.southernwater.co.uk/ it takes a fair amount of navigating links entering your post code and so on, and I will leave it to anyone that wants to go there to do so.

Next by examining documents produced by independent consultants one of these that I found interesting is about the problems associated with the Richborough refuse landfill, it would appear from reading the document that this poses a threat both to the River Stour and to the aquifer from the south, I don’t suppose that this document is readily available to people so I have published it on the web click on the link if you want to read it http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id91.htm

The other the information comes from someone I know who uses water for a light industrial process that requires water of a high quality, he has a private laboratory in Thanet where he tests our water on a daily basis, both before and after he has purified it by carbon filtration.

His opinion is that although our tap water is mainly stable and ok although chlorine levels get very high from time to time and that nitrate levels are above the EU recommended maximum.

Obviously the important question raised here is; is it safe to drink the water? The answer I am getting from scientists that are independent from any of the organisations involved is yes, but there is an exception that it could be harmful to very young babies, so I would recommend that people don’t make up powdered baby milk with it unfiltered.

There is also another factor here that it could effect yeast production when using it to make up powdered yeast for cooking, so if your bread won’t rise properly you could try bottled or filtered water.

The main issue here is that the more I discover about the state of our water supply the more convinced I am becoming that it is the main factor in determining if there should be any further development at Manston whatsoever.


  1. There is also a commercial waste transfer station at Manston Michael.

    I am awaiting TDC reply to mt FOI request about Pioneer Industrial Estate near Ramsgate station. But I am beginning to wonder if the suspected problem (around the old Whitehall water extraction point) may have been to do with an area called locally "the dumps" which ran from the back of the Pioneer Estate (former TDC depot) to the back of Allenby Road.

    Am I right ? Your friend tests the quality of tap water. But this is sourced from three origins to dilute the Thanet extracted water ?

    Correct me if I am wrong here. So there must be a factor by which the tap water contaminants could be multiplied to represent a guesstimate of the actual aquifer levels of contaminants ?

    Although, with remediations ongoing, the aquifer should be getting less contaminated the fact would appear to remain that what comes out of private boreholes may not be too good ?

    And historically, prior to remediations, it would have been awful ?

    Historical exposure to such water and its vapours seems to be a compelling case for inquiry as I set out on my blog

    map here

  2. So it's OK to drink Eddie's beer then?

  3. Richard the nitrate problem wouldn’t relate to the major spillages and their remediations but to lots of small sewage leaks that I can only assume are getting worse.

    The commercial waste transfer station has now been concreted and curbed to prevent runoff onto the land however there is a problem with blocked drains on the access road and I believe this is being dealt with.

    Oh yes ECR if he didn’t filter out the nasties the yeast production wouldn’t work property so it wouldn’t ferment properly.

  4. It's not simply OK, ECR, it's obligatory.

  5. Just to clarify Micheal:

    We test the alkalinity on a daily basis and it is stable.

    We have wider tests done once a year and they have shown nitrate up to 38 mg/l. The legal maximum is 50 mg/l in the EU though the recommended maximum is 25 mg/l as is the legal US maximum. No idea why there is a discrepancy here.

    The harm done to yeast is over a number of generations so hydrating dried yeast is unaffected - if your baguette doesn't rise you can't blame the water.

    The chlorine levels you can see for yourself when your morning cuppa tastes of TCP on occasion. As far as I'm aware the only implication is that of flavour which is why we carbon filter all process water. To be fair to the water provider they have to keep the water safe whilst trying not to influence the flavour - a difficult balancing act.

    Other than the chlorine taste I would say the water is generally good - carbon filter it and it's great.

    I am however very grateful that you and others have brought various contaminations and threats to my attention. Legal contraventions of potable water remain rare, thankfully.


  6. Thanks Eddie I should have asked a relation of mine who is a qualified industrial chemist about the yeast problem.

    What I don’t understand though is why the nitrates aren’t removed by the reverse osmosis I expect my industrial chemist will know if you don’t.

    Nor why your nitrate levels appear to be higher that the EA’s, which are for the unprocessed, undiluted water in the aquifer.

    I am also concerned that having had four children born at Margate hospital no one warned me to filter the water before making up powdered feeds for them.

  7. I believe TDC told a number of households (20) around Westwood cross to find another water supplier as they were not supplying them from their Borehole.

    So how many Boreholes do TDC have?

  8. Micheal,

    Filtering doesn't remove nitrates - we use an ion exchange system similar to a water softener.

    I thought RO removed everything but is massively expensive.

    I have a southern water analysis from 1999 showing 10 tap water samples averaging 33.978 mg/l.

    Our own samples averaged a bit lower around the 27 mark.


  9. Hi Michael. Reverse osmosis does remove nitrates and does so very effectively. If there are nitrates in the water then it hasn't been subjected to reverse osmosis. As I said previously, I don't believe they are using reverse osmosis. It would be far too expensive. I think they have just fed you this line to shut you up.

  10. Water pollution is a concern for the world. It is not something limited to poor nations. Many people think that only poor countries suffer from the lack of clean drinking water and pollution of water. That is far for the truth. I think the biggest source of water pollution is Industries. Who are releasing large amount of hazardous waste into our water resources. In order to do proper treatment of this waste water consultant like JNB must be contacted

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. In that case Green I better put the linkie on re Dr Chandrakumar

    In at at Thor in at Sericol out at Northwood ?

  14. Water pollution is a concern for the world. It is not something limited to poor nations. Many people think that only poor countries suffer from the lack of clean drinking water and pollution of water. That is far for the truth. I think the biggest source of water pollution is Industries. Who are releasing large amount of hazardous waste into our water resources. In order to do proper treatment of this waste water consultant like JNB must be contacted


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