Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 10:38 UK

Water tests found excess fluoride

Too much fluoride was put into the water supply after a new dosing system at Severn Trent Water failed, the watchdog said.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate said a fault happened at the pumping station which supplies 29,000 homes between Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton last June.

Two tests on treated water at the station failed, with one showing fluoride at twice the target level.

Severn Trent Water apologised but said the water had still been safe to drink.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said work to complete a new fluoride dosing pump and dose controller was completed at Dimmingsdale Borehole Plumping Station near Wolverhampton on 12 June 2008.

A routine sample on 1 July 2008 found treated water at the works contained 2mg of fluoride per litre of water - which is twice the target level, it said.

A further test two days later showed 1.86mg of fluoride.

'High standards'

The DWI was critical of Severn Trent Water (STW) who it said did not detect the problem for a month and then tested the supply going to the wrong homes.

The report recommended the firm reviewed its staff training and its awareness of drinking water quality standards.

STW said the elevated fluoride levels were short-lived and "did not pose a risk to health at any stage".

"While the water was still safe to drink, these samples and the way in which they arose fell short of the high standards we expect at Severn Trent," a spokesman said.

The firm said it had taken action in a number of areas to minimise the risk of it happening again, including strengthening its controls and procedures.

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