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Frequently asked questions about water quality

  1. Firstly, check whether there are any incidents in your area that might be affecting your water supply. We might have temporarily changed the source of your water supply which could affect the taste or look of your water. Please type your Post Code into our website and check the incidents and water quality tabs for the latest updates.

    We also have more information about discoloured water on our website.

    If your issue is not on our website:

    1. Run the tap which is fed first from your water supply for several minutes (usually your kitchen tap).

    2. Fill a jug and leave it to stand until any sediment has settled to the bottom.

    3. Use the clean water from the top of the jug.

    Discoloured water resulting from iron and manganese deposits is unlikely to have any health implications. Whilst your water is discoloured, don't run the hot tap or use dishwashers, washing machines or any appliances fed by your hot water supply.

    If your water's permanently discoloured, or you're concerned, please conatct us via one of the options below and we'll arrange for a representative to visit and investigate the problem.

    For even more information, please see our guide.
  2. Discoloured water is most often caused by changes in flow or pressure which can disturb iron and manganese sediments within the water pipes. Please see our website for information about discoloured water.

    Check for incidents or changes to your water supply which might be affecting your water quality on our website.

    If you experience short-term discoloured water and you need water for drinking or cooking, do the following:

    - Run the main tap for several minutes (usually your kitchen tap).
    - Fill a jug and leave it to stand until any sediment has settled to the bottom.
    - Use the clean water from the top of the jug.

    Whilst your tap water is discoloured, don't run the hot tap or use dishwashers, washing machines or any appliances fed by your hot water supply. If your tap water is permanently discoloured, or you're concerned, please contact us and we'll investigate the problem and arrange a visit if necessary.

  3. Chlorine is added to the water supply at the treatment works to disinfect it. Whilst the level of chlorine is kept to the minimum needed to ensure your water is safe to drink, a small amount of chlorine is occasionally detectable by customers who have a sensitive palate.

    An easy way to reduce the amount of chlorine in your drinking water is to put a jug of tap water in your fridge for a couple of hours: not only will it be nicely chilled, it will also taste good too. The jug should be covered and any water left after 24 hours thrown away, or you could use it to water your plants.

    For more information please see our leaflet about water quality.
  4. We advise that water with a taste or smell of petrol, deisel or oil should not be drunk until we have been to investigate.

    If you notice a taste or smell of petrol, diesel or oil to your water please contact us.

    Often these isolated occurrences are due to a spillage of fuel near to plastic supply pipes. These substances can seep through the plastic pipework and give rise to these tastes or odours.

    We always investigate such reports promptly to find out the cause.

  5. We update our website with details of any incidents we're aware of with information about what's happened, what we are doing about it and when we're likely to have it sorted. All you need to do is type your postcode into our website to see whether there are any incidents in your area.

    You can also follow us @YWHelp on Twitter for realtime updates or you can contact us directly to discuss your problem through one of the following options:

    If you'd like to contact us, there's no need to pick up the phone, you can use our Live Chat or request a free Callback.

  6. Water looks cloudy or milky if air mixes with the supply. If you allow it to stand for a few minutes in a glass, the water will clear from the bottom as the air bubbles rise to the surface. There's no risk to health associated with cloudy, milky or bubbly water.

    Changes in the appearance of your water might be due to a burst water mains or work that we're doing. You can check our incidents or changes within your water supply zone on our website.

    If your water is permanently cloudy or milky, or you're concerned, please contact us.

  7. You can check how hard your water is by visiting our website and typing in your Post Code.
  8. Harmless limescale is formed when hard water is heated. Most modern dishwashers have built-in water softeners that prevent white film or spots forming on glassware and crockery. Water softening products can be added to older machines. Make sure you top up your dishwasher with salt and rinse aid when they need it.

    If you've a problem with your dishwasher, please check the manufacturer's instructions for how to adjust the setting of the softener to suit the water hardness.

    To find out which water supply zone your house is in and what this means in terms of your water quality and hardness, please visit our website and type in your postcode.

    Our website also has more information about hard water.
  9. Yes, a very small amount of chlorine remains in the water as it leaves the treatment works to ensure the water remains fresh as it passes through the mains network on its way to your tap.

    If you would like to read more about the use of chlorine in water supplies please see our Water Quality leaflet.
  10. We make sure that all the water we supply for drinking, washing, cooking, central heating and cleaning meets the government standards. We take thousands of samples from the supply system and from customer taps for testing. The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) independently assesses the results from these tests and issues a report each year.

    We continually monitor water from our 55 treatment plants to ensure that it meets the standards. Regular samples are taken from our 359 service reservoirs and from where treated water is stored.

    These samples are analysed for the substances listed in the government standards. Typically over 500,000 tests are carried out each year together with many more operational checks.

    For more information, please see our website, and for details of the substances we test for, please see our Your Water Quality leaflet.

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