Water officials are under mounting pressure to take urgent action on a remote Perthshire community’s supply after it was found to be riddled with a variety of dangerous bacteria including E. coli and salmonella.
Dozens of households in picturesque Tummel Bridge have been warned not to use their tap water for drinking, washing or even showering after it failed a series of rigorous assessments.
The health scare puts extra pressure on Scottish Water chiefs, who have spent nearly four years trying to connect the homes to a clean mains supply.
But the firm has announced that it failed to meet its October 20 target and now can’t say when the supply will be set up.
Properties are currently linked to aprivate water supply provided by Scottish and Southern Energy which runs the nearby hydro plant.
Locals have known their water has been unsafe for more than three years and have spent a small fortune up to £600 a year in some cases on bottled water.
Resident Barbara Cumming said the results of September’s water sample test were “frightening”.
She said: “It’s like living in Dickensian times. All we can do with this water is flush the toilet anything else is a big risk. Nobody is making any effort to recompense us. We should have been provided withbottled water at the very least.”
Elizabeth Moore, 67, said she fellseriously ill with blood poisoning, although she cannot say for certain whether this was linked to her water supply, adding: “I can’t think what else it could have been.
“I recently had an operation on my foot and I’m now terrified to wash it.”
Resident Evelyn Brown said sheestimated she was spending between £500 and £600 a year on bottled water, not to mention money spent on filters for showers and taps which have proved to beineffective.
“You’re taking a huge risk even having a bath,” she said. “Several people here have gone to hospital because of this.It’s a case of water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
Neighbour Maureen Robertson, 81, said: “It is a real problem for people with young families or folk who are sick. They have to be extra careful all the time.”
A spokesman for Scottish Water confirmed work was ongoing to connect Tummel Bridge homes to the main supply but could not say when this might happen.
“Additional work is required to tweak the new treatment unit and water mains so the network provides consistent and reliable water supply to customers in the village,” he said.“Once this work is concluded, we will start work to finalise connections, which we imagine will take around six weeks.”’Doubled over and screaming in pain’Last week former Courier reporter April Morkis was struck down by E. coli. Here she reveals just howdebilitating the condition is:
Residents of Tummel Bridge should takewarnings not to use tap water seriously E. coli is nothing to mess around with.
A week ago, I came down with what I thought was a simple stomach bug but it deteriorated rapidly and I was soon doubled over and screaming in pain.
I was taken to my GP and told to go to NinewellsHospital straight away, which was to become my home for the next five days.
Hooked up to a drip, I spent my time drifting in and out of consciousness and in and out of agony.
It was, without a doubt, the illest I have ever been in my life and far beyond a simple stomach bug. I was discharged on Monday but am still not fully recovered.
Apparently it only takes a tiny number of organisms to enter your system for you to get ill.
I’m a vegetarian and don’t spend my free time around livestock so the most likely route into my system was vegetables that had not been properly washed.
That’s not a mistake I’ll make again but given that I wound up in an infectious diseases ward for five days I would advise anyone in Tummel Bridge not to take any risk with their water.
It’s just not worth it.