Homes left without running tap water as 85,000 bottles delivered to Scottish islands after fuel leak warning
A second round of bottled water has been delivered to homes and businesses in Benbecula and the northern part of South Uist after an “oily taste and smell” was detected in tap water.
Customers were advised to stop using their tap water, including boiled water, for drinking, cooking or washing as a precaution on Wednesday afternoon.
The issue 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, which forms part of Benbecula Treatment Works.
Work is ongoing to flush the local water network, with local contractors called in to assist and Scottish Water now liaising with the consultant in public health medicine at NHS Western Isles over the recovery effort.
Three primary schools remained closed on Friday, with two leisure centres and a library also shut as a precaution.
Kevin Roy, from Scottish Water, said: “We recognise that these significant and disruptive restrictions have now been in place for two days and that customers are anxious to know when they will be lifted.
“Restoring supplies safely in these circumstances unfortunately takes time and progress can only be confirmed via successive sets of sample results that are confirmed to meet all of the strict quality standards that apply.
“This is a complex and multi-faceted recovery operation, which includes the cleaning of filters. But we are making good progress with the work we need to do and that is reflected in the most recent sample results received."
A further update for customers is due on Saturday.
Mr Roy added: “We would stress that customers should not use their tap water for drinking, cooking or washing until they receive confirmation of any change from us. The timescale for progress is dependent on each set of sample results that we receive.
“We again thank affected customers for their continued patience and co-operation.”
A number of pop-up water tanks have appeared across Benbecula and South Uist, with residents asked to take their own containers and boil the water before using.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, HM Coastguard, Comhairlie nan Eilean Siar and Caledonian MacBrayne are assisting with the response.
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