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Water pollution

We carry out a sampling programme of non-mains drinking water supplies and take action where appropriate to protect public health. The cost of sampling is recharged to the owner or occupier of the properties served by the water supply.

Mains water is supplied by United Utilities, though the Council oversees the water company's monitoring regime.

Lead in Water

Occasional lead occurs naturally in groundwater however, this is a rare situation in the UK and lead is not present in the water within our wider public water supply network. However before 1970, many smaller water pipes were made from lead. Although lead pipes have not been permitted for this purpose for four decades, in older properties it remains possible that part, or all, of the underground service pipe connecting the water main in the street to your kitchen tap may be made from lead. It is also possible that some original lead plumbing remains within older properties especially if the kitchen has not been modernised.

A copy of the leaflet entitled 'A Householder's Guide to Lead in Water'  is available to download at the bottom of this page.

Blue Green Algae

Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms can form when conditions for growth are perfect and their numbers become excessive. Scums form during calm weather when several bloom-forming species rise to the water surface.

Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins. These toxins can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets. Farmers and pet owners should keep their animals away from affected waters.

People who have swallowed or swam through algal scum have suffered skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and muscle and joint pain. These illnesses haven’t led to long-term effects or death but, in some cases, they were severe.

Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, but you can’t tell just by looking at them, so it’s best to assume they are.

If you come into contact with blue green algae, wash affected parts well with clean water. Do not allow pets to lick themselves clean. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice, telling them you may have been in contact with harmful algal blooms.

If blue green algae has been identified in a water course, the landowner will usually put up signs to inform the public. Please follow the advice given on signs.

To report an environmental incident, call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (24 hours)

Downloadable Documents

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File nameSizeApproximate Download time
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerA Householder's Guide to Lead in Water in PDF format21919 Kb52 mins 11 secs @ 56k, 1 min 30 secs @ 2mb

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderDownload Acrobat PDF Reader (external website). Acrobat PDF Reader allows you to view PDF files.

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0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ