Tests show that private water supplies near Duxford are safe to drink

Of all the towns and cities in the UK, Stevenage is ranked third highest for hard water

Private water supplies near Duxford have been found safe to drink following tests - Credit: Archant

A total of 20 private water supplies were tested in the Duxford area by South Cambs District Council, after a local borehole recorded high levels of chemicals.

A fortnight ago Cambridge Water confirmed that the borehole had previously recorded high levels of PFAS chemicals (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), resulting in the borehole being removed from the main water supply.

The results from all 20 supplies tested showed very low levels of a PFAS chemical. The concentration of PFAS monitored was below 0.1 microgram per litre, meaning the water is considered to be 'wholesome' by the water industry, and is safe to drink.

Cllr Brian Milnes, lead cabinet member for environmental services and licensing at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We responded immediately by sampling private water supplies and sending for independent testing, after Cambridge Water confirmed the details of the higher levels of PFAS in a local Duxford borehole, which they had later taken out of use.

"As soon as we received the test results, our officers quickly made contact with the people connected to these private water supplies, so they have all the necessary information.

“This is an emerging area of water testing and regulation and we anticipate further guidance being provided by the UK Health Security Agency and Drinking Water Inspectorate for owners of private water supplies, as well as for organisations like ours with responsibility for monitoring those water supplies.

"While we are not responsible for maintaining private water supplies, we will be implementing any new guidance as it is published, on the safety of those private water supplies.” 

Each private water supply typically provides water to between one and four homes.

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The majority of homes get their water supplied from the mains, which is provided by companies such as Cambridge Water. These are regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, with the council only responsible for private water supplies.

South Cambs District Council will continue to risk-assess and monitor the quality of borehole water in light of the recent findings.