Home Entertainment Pub landlord in postcard perfect Surrey village hit by undrinkable tap water

Pub landlord in postcard perfect Surrey village hit by undrinkable tap water

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A pub landlord in a picturesque Surrey village hit by water issues linked to a fuel leak says the problem is driving customers away.

Hundreds of people in Bramley near Guildford in Surrey have been told not to use their water supply over contamination fears.

It comes as locals in Devon are still boiling tap water following a parasite outbreak in their water supply, with cases of infection now reaching 100. 

Thames Water introduced a precautionary ‘do not drink’ notice to 616 homes yesterday.

It said it had been carrying out additional water sampling in Bramley since October last year ‘following a historical fuel leak from the village petrol station’.

A statement said: ‘The do not drink tap water advice follows results received today indicating elevated levels of hydrocarbons.’

SURREY: Thames Water staff distribute bottles water in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: Thames Water staff distribute bottles water in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

Residents in Bramley have been forced to travel to the village library to collect bottled water after a fuel leak at a nearby petrol station - including Sian Jones (pictured) who needs water to feed her disabled daughter

Residents in Bramley have been forced to travel to the village library to collect bottled water after a fuel leak at a nearby petrol station – including Sian Jones (pictured) who needs water to feed her disabled daughter

SURREY: Residents collecting water from a collecting point in the village

SURREY: Residents collecting water from a collecting point in the village 

Speaking on Friday, Chris Hardstone, landlord of the Jolly Farmer, claimed he had been complaining about the fuel issue since 2021.

The 67-year-old has run the pub with his brother Steve, 66, for 40 years. Chris said: ‘Back in 2021, our cellar just stank of fumes – and this petrol smell was wafting up into the bar.

‘It took ages to get people to come and have a look, but when they did, we had people checking for gas leaks, for fire safety.

Households in Bramley have been issued the following ‘do not drink’ notice: 

Don’t drink the tap water yourself or give it to pets

Don’t prepare or cook food using tap water

Don’t use tap water to brush your teeth

Don’t use tap water even after boiling

You can use tap water to wash and to flush the toilet after use

‘We were told initially it was mould – but it wasn’t of course. It was a leak from the petrol station.’

Mr Hardstone said that they had to close the hotel part of the pub as a result – meaning they lost out on business.

‘These issues meant we had to close our accommodation section down – so we lost business there,’ he said.

‘And of course, when word goes around that the local pub stinks of petrol, that affects business too.’

Bottled water stations have been set up in the village. Locals have been asked not to use their water supply for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth.

However, they can continue to use the water to shower and wash hands, Thames Water said.

Sian Jones, 58, said: ‘My 20-year-old daughter is disabled and needs to be fed through a feeding tube.

‘That requires water, and so this is a pain.

‘The concern also is that this was caused by a leak from 2016 – so have we all been drinking water with low levels of petrol for a while?

‘We don’t know when this started for sure. So it’s definitely a worry in terms of the health impact.’

Thames Water has been regularly collecting and assessing water samples in Bramley following a historical fuel leak at the petrol station. 

Sian Jones in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

Sian Jones in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: The petrol station that has caused the leak meaning local residents cant drink the water in Bramley

SURREY: The petrol station that has caused the leak meaning local residents cant drink the water in Bramley

SURREY: A Thames water van drives past the petrol station which is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: A Thames water van drives past the petrol station which is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: Bramley residents at a bottled water station after being told not to drink tap water

SURREY: Bramley residents at a bottled water station after being told not to drink tap water

A Bramley resident carrying bottles of water from a water station

A Bramley resident carrying bottles of water from a water station 

She added: ‘If it all gets cleaned up and the water gets working – and the petrol station stops poisoning us all – then happy days.

‘But we don’t know when that’s going to be.’

Mother-of-three Victoria Seagrim, 45, is also worried about the health impacts – particularly as her daughter has been ill for the past week.

She said: ‘My 13-year-old has been nauseous and vomiting recently, so I’m obviously now thinking, is this because of the water?

‘Of course, it could be a coincidence – but we just don’t know.’

Ms Seagrim said she had to rush down to the library to collect water in the middle of her working day.

‘I work full-time but I’ve had to come down here to get water – particularly as the kids are on half term and they all drink about three litres a day,’ she said.

‘It’s stressful because we don’t know when it will be fixed. It could be days – could be weeks.

‘We also don’t know how long the water has been contaminated. How long have we been unknowingly drinking it?’

Heather Aitken, 72, had similar concerns. She said: ‘To get a message saying, ‘Don’t drink the water’… It’s shambolic. That shouldn’t be happening in a First World country.

‘It’s a huge health concern. I feel particularly sorry for the people with young kids.’

Ms Aitken also said that the water wasn’t the only thing the petrol station is affecting.

She said: ‘The petrol station – and all the works – is causing these ridiculous traffic jams.

‘So I live on the high street – and I’m also disturbed by all the fumes. We’re breathing it all in and it’s awful.

‘The thing is – none of us want the petrol station to be reinstated. We don’t need it. We have other ones. So it’s causing all these issues and no one wants it.’

SURREY: Thames Water staff distribute bottles water in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: Thames Water staff distribute bottles water in Bramley, Surrey where the petrol station is believed to be the source of water pollution in the village

SURREY: Residents must collect water from stations after a suspected fuel leak saw them issued with 'do not drink' warnings

SURREY: Residents must collect water from stations after a suspected fuel leak saw them issued with ‘do not drink’ warnings

SURREY: A local woman speaking to a Thames Water worker at a bottled water station in Bramley

SURREY: A local woman speaking to a Thames Water worker at a bottled water station in Bramley

SURREY: Residents getting water from a collection point in Bramley today after a fuel a leak

SURREY: Residents getting water from a collection point in Bramley today after a fuel a leak

Another local, who did not want to be named, agreed. ‘I’m moving out of the village because of the constant traffic caused by all the works,’ he said.

‘It’s a shame because I love it here – and I try to support all the local businesses because they’re being affected by the loss of footfall, but it’s just unsustainable.’

Households in Bramley have been warned not to drink their tap water or use it for cooking, or brushing their teeth, but they can continue to use the water to shower and wash their hands.

Two bottled water stations have been set up in the village at Bramley Community Library and Artington Park and Ride and will be open until 9pm tonight.

The warning threatens to be an election setback for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the MP for the constituency.

The Conservative MP yesterday had a call with the UKHSA, DEFRA, Thames Water and Asda who acquired the village petrol station.

SURREY: Thames Water has been regularly collecting and assessing water samples in Bramley following a historical fuel leak from the village petrol station (pictured) now operated by ASDA

SURREY: Thames Water has been regularly collecting and assessing water samples in Bramley following a historical fuel leak from the village petrol station (pictured) now operated by ASDA

SURREY: Thames Water tests revealed hydrocarbons in the supply following a previous fuel leak. Pictured: The ASDA petrol station

SURREY: Thames Water tests revealed hydrocarbons in the supply following a previous fuel leak. Pictured: The ASDA petrol station 

A map depicting the village of Bramley, south of Guildford, where the 'do not drink' notice has been issued by Thames Water

A map depicting the village of Bramley, south of Guildford, where the ‘do not drink’ notice has been issued by Thames Water

Mr Hunt held a meeting with Thames Water CEO Chris Weston in April to discuss water outages, slow compensation payments and sewage spills. He is due to hold another public meeting in June. 

It comes as cases of cryptosporidium, a parasite that primarily infects people through faeces-contaminated drinking water has now reached 100.

Most of the infections are in Devon but outbreaks have also been reported in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire over the past two months.

The most serious outbreak relates to faecal-contaminated drinking water in Brixham, Devon, which started earlier this month.

However, dozens more Brits, including children, have fallen severely ill since the end of March after outbreaks at petting farms.

Whole streets in Brixham have been infected with victims forced to endure days of diarrhoea and agonising stomach cramps, with one sufferer even comparing them to ‘childbirth.

SURREY: Households in Bramley have been warned not to drink their tap water or use it for cooking, or brushing their teeth, but they can continue to use the water to shower and wash their hands

SURREY: Households in Bramley have been warned not to drink their tap water or use it for cooking, or brushing their teeth, but they can continue to use the water to shower and wash their hands

A total of 616 homes in Bramley, (pictured) south of Guildford, have been told their water contains high levels of hydrocarbons, making it unsafe to drink

A total of 616 homes in Bramley, (pictured) south of Guildford, have been told their water contains high levels of hydrocarbons, making it unsafe to drink

Residents have been forced to boil water for over a week to make it safe to drink, with some shops running out of bottled supplies due to panic-buying.

The source of the outbreak appears to be damaged air valve in the water supply line which ‘may have allowed animal waste or contaminated groundwater to enter the local supply’.

While faecal contaminated water is the classic way people get infected with cryptosporidium there are other ways you could be struck down with the bug.

One of these is direct contact with infected animals, a fate that potentially seems to have befallen dozens of Brits in recent months.

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: ‘Thames Water would like to reassure its customers that the village water supply has been safe to drink up to this point, as confirmed through its rigorous water testing, which has also been subject to regular review working alongside UKHSA throughout this period.’

DEVON: South West Water handing out emergency rations of bottled water to anyone affected by the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Torbay

DEVON: South West Water handing out emergency rations of bottled water to anyone affected by the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Torbay

DEVON: Locals in Brixham, Boohay, Kingswear, Roseland and north-east Paignton in Devon were all told to boil water as a precaution

DEVON: Locals in Brixham, Boohay, Kingswear, Roseland and north-east Paignton in Devon were all told to boil water as a precaution

DEVON: Bottled water has been supplied to residents in Brixham following an outbreak of cryptosporidium in the water supply

DEVON: Bottled water has been supplied to residents in Brixham following an outbreak of cryptosporidium in the water supply 

DEVON: South West Water unloading crates of bottled water to distribute to locals in south Devon

DEVON: South West Water unloading crates of bottled water to distribute to locals in south Devon

DEVON: Staff from South West Water at the scene of the outbreak at Hillhead Farm in Brixham

DEVON: Staff from South West Water at the scene of the outbreak at Hillhead Farm in Brixham

Tess Fayers, operations director for the Thames Valley and Home Counties said: ‘We are asking 616 Bramley properties not to drink the tap water following recent water sampling results.

‘The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to reassure residents that this is a precautionary measure.

‘We are in the process of delivering letters and bottled water to the affected properties.

‘We are also identifying locations to set-up bottled water stations and we will share this information with our customers as soon as possible.

‘We are already on site in the village proactively replacing sections of our pipes on Horsham Road to reduce the risk to our customers.’

A Waverley Borough Council spokesperson, said: ‘We are working closely with Thames Water and other agencies to try and mitigate the impact on residents, and we will support residents wherever possible.’

An Asda spokesperson said: ‘We are continuing to work closely with Thames Water and other partners to address the issues we inherited after acquiring the Bramley PFS site.

‘We recognise the impact this has had on the residents of Bramley and share their frustrations.

‘We are committed to working with all parties to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.’

Meanwhile, Britain’s greatest beauty spots and most stunning waterways are being continually polluted by water companies who say it is ‘not cost beneficial’ to upgrade the network to prevent leakage in half of all cases, MailOnline can reveal.

DEVON: Hillhead Reservoir, the underground reservoir where the outbreak of bacteria is thought to have originated

DEVON: Hillhead Reservoir, the underground reservoir where the outbreak of bacteria is thought to have originated

In the last year alone, beauty spots in Cumbria, the Cotswolds, Cornwall and Sussex have all seen enormous sewage spills blighting the lives of residents and desecrating the natural environment.

Earlier this month, it was revealed million of litres of raw sewage had ‘illegally pumped’ into Lake Windermere in the Lake District after a fault.

Data analysis by MailOnline shows water firms decided there was ‘no cost beneficial solution’ to prevent 280 discharge sites in England that, due to lack of capacity, pumped untreated sewage into rivers and seas for hundreds of hours last year.

The 280 sites across the country comprise 48 per cent of 582 offending sites – which discharged for a total of nearly 375,000 hours last year – where a decision on whether to resolve the issue or not has been made.



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