Tap water in Trecwn street 'unfit for human consumption'

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Media captionOne resident says water comes out of taps "looking like a cup of tea"

An expert on water quality said she believed private water being supplied to a village was unfit for human consumption.

Families in 35 homes in Trecwn, Pembrokeshire, have been seeking answers for months from property firm Manhattan Loft who supply the water.

Residents in Barham Road said they first began to notice problems with their tap water last summer.

But Manhattan Loft deny there is anything wrong with the water.

Luke Pieniak, who lives on the road with his wife and two young children, said: "At the beginning it was a strong smell of chlorine, it's like every time we went to bath the kids it would just smell like a swimming pool.

"You should be able to bath your children without worrying, you should be able to turn your taps on and not smell of chlorine, you should not have to look at dirty water."

Image caption Luke Pieniak said he worries about the safety of bathing his children in the water

Another resident, Helen Bingham, told the BBC Wales X-Ray programme: "The water was a funny colour and sometimes had a smell to it.

"It ranges from brown, as in it looks like you've poured a cup of tea into the water, to going crystal clear but then very high smell of chlorine."

The houses used to belong to the old Royal Navy munitions base at Trecwn, which shut nearly 30 years ago, but the street's water supply still comes from there.

Residents are billed by the site's new owners, property company Manhattan Loft.

Tests carried out on the water in February and March showed iron levels of about 1800 micrograms per litre - nine times the legal limit of 200 micrograms.

Ms Bingham said: "The worry is if it's 1800 and it should be 200, how long have we all been drinking this water with high levels of iron in? How does that affect our heath?"

Image caption Helen Bingham said the water has a funny smell

Prof Jennifer Colbourne, a former chief inspector of the Drinking Water Inspectorate, said while the water should not directly affect their health, it was breaking the law and not fit to drink.

"The water is not compliant with the law. The water is not wholesome and not fit for human consumption."

"I think that it is this lack of information that is most concerning to me because it's causing anxiety for all concerned."

The problems with the water are caused when it passes through an old iron pipe on its way to homes.

Image caption People living in Barham Road said their water is often discoloured

Manhattan Loft said there was nothing wrong with the water when it left its processing plant and not all the houses had experienced high iron levels.

It said residents pay them for the water, but not for any specific work that might be needed on the pipe-work.

Pembrokeshire council said it has been talking to Welsh Water about an emergency water supply and longer-term solutions and hoped to write to all the residents outlining the different options next month.

The authority said it believed residents were responsible for paying for any work needed to the iron pipe.

  • X-Ray, Monday at 19:30 BST on BBC One Wales and later on BBC iPlayer

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