Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 13:17 UK

Couple count cost of tap 'slime'

Bio-film hanging from tap
Experts say the water is drinkable despite the presence of bio-film

A couple from Barnsley have been drinking bottled water for the past three years because of a build-up of bacterial slime in their taps.

Ray and Jean Key, of the Smithies, have spent £20 a week on bottles since 2006 because their tap water is unpalatable.

Yorkshire Water said tests showed the couple's supply met drinking water standards despite the presence of "bio-film" caused by household bacteria.

Mr Key said: "They call it white snot, it's absolutely disgusting."

His wife Jean, who is suffering from chronic illness following pneumonia and a brain haemorrhage, said: "You expect to be able to go to the tap, run a bath, drink your water, cook with your water, but we can't so we buy it."

The Keys, who live in a council house, have so far spent about £3,000 on bottled water.

We recognise his reluctance to use drinking water from his taps when they appear to be emitting an unpalatable substance
Yorkshire Water statement

Yorkshire Water said that since 2006 it had carried out a number of sample tests to check water reaching their property and all met standards set by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

A spokesman said: "We'd emphasise we have every sympathy for Mr Key and we recognise his reluctance to use drinking water from his taps when they appear to be emitting an unpalatable substance known as bio-film.

"The problem is actually quite common and usually occurs as a result of water reacting with household bacteria which can find its way into internal taps and supply pipes."

Severe case

The company said the problem could usually be combated with domestic cleaning products, such as bleach.

"In more severe cases such as those which appear to have been experienced by Mr Key it can help to have washers, taps and stop taps replaced," Yorkshire Water said.

"However, it is only Yorkshire Water's job to supply a safe, reliable supply of drinking water to the boundary of a domestic property.

"The supply then becomes the responsibility of the owner who would normally be expected to bear the cost of any necessary maintenance or repair."

Berneslai Homes, which runs council properties in Barnsley, said: "We understand that Yorkshire Water have been looking into this matter for a number of years following complaints to the from Mr Key.

"Once we have the results of the Yorkshire Water technical investigation we will review them, assessing if any works that are our responsibility need to be carried out."



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific