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A WATER company has admitted that some of the water it supplies in a town is discoloured but denies it is harmful.
Residents living in Burgess Hill told The Argus at the weekend that water from their taps was coming out with a slight green and yellow discolouration.
Fenella Griffiths, who cares for her mother who has Alzheimer’s, said residents in the area reported suffering from sickness and diarrhoea, which she believed to be linked to the discoloured water seen coming from her taps at home.
South East Water, which is responsible for supplying drinking water in the area, yesterday revealed that the discoloured water seen in the town is a result of increased levels of a metal called manganese in the water.
David Hinton, director of asset and regulation at South East Water, said: “We are aware of incidents of discoloured water in the Burgess Hill area during the weekend.
“This was caused by higher than normal levels of manganese, an element which occurs naturally in water, and is not normally harmful to health or associated with vomiting and diarrhoea.
“We go to great lengths to make sure drinking water is supplied to the very highest standards and monitor water quality 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our tests show the levels of manganese have been within the Drinking Water Regulations.
“However, although discoloured water is usually safe to drink, cook and wash with, it is off-putting for customers.
“We advise any customers who find they have discoloured water to run the cold kitchen tap for up to 45 minutes until it clears.”
Ms Griffiths said the water she has been using at home looked like someone had urinated in it.
She said: “This is affecting other residents who have also told me they see the same thing.
“Normally a problem like this is because of a blockage.
“Water isn’t free and we do have to pay for it so it should be clean.
“There is obviously something not quite right and people need to report it or post it on social media if they see it.”
A South East Water spokeswoman added that if Ms Griffiths is still worried about the discolouration of tap water in her home then she can contact the company, which would be happy to test the tap water if more concerns are raised.
Ms Griffiths told The Argus yesterday: “It is still a hot topic and we need to get this sorted out.
“The age of the pipes being used to supply water is a big problem.
“Of course if they are that old there are going to be issues.”
Manganese is a metal which has a variety of uses, such as in metal alloy and stainless steel production.
It is not found as a free element – a chemical element that is not combined with others – in nature and is normally found in minerals combined with iron.
Low levels of manganese found in drinking water is not thought to be harmful, but high levels of it when ingested can be.
If any customers in the area have questions about their drinking water supply, South East Water has advised them to find out more at southeastwater.co.uk or call them on 0333 000 0001.
Source: The Argus