Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT November 2016

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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12 | NOVEMBER 2016 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk To take away 1. Since lead in drinking water is now largely caused by customer- side pipes, it can best be tackled by customer education and greater regulation of plumbers. 2. Water quality experts at water companies would like to see ban on the use of metaldehyde in farming because of the diffi culties in extracting it from water. 3. Catchment management initiatives are achieving good progress on minimising pesticide use although many water companies feel there need to be 'sticks' as well as 'carrots' in their dealings with farmers. 4. A focus on customer outcomes for drinking water means water companies must now respond more comprehensively to discolouration/taste and odour complaints even if the complained-about eff ect is harmless. 5. While THMs (a by-product of chlorine dosing) is a regulated parameter for water quality, water companies should think beyond compliance and seek to tackle natural organic matter in water on a holistic basis. NEXT EVENT: WWT Innovation conference, Birmingham, Nov 29th. Water quality experts call for ban on the use of metaldehyde T here should be at least a partial ban on the use of the pesticide metaldehyde on agricultural land because of its e ect on water catchments, industry experts said at the WWT Drinking Water Quality conference. Metaldehyde, a chemical used in the majority of slug pellets, is very di• cult and costly to remove from water and so presents a signi• cant challenge for the water sector. The conference in Birmingham heard from catchment managers at water companies who had persuaded farmers to use alternative pellets based on ferric phosphate, alternative techniques for killing slugs such as raking and dessication, or to make other changes to their farming practices to minimise surface run-o . However, several speakers also said that their ought to be targeted bans on metaldehyde use in sensitive catchments in order to get the message across quicker to farmers and speed up progress on the issue. David Reynolds, Water Quality and Compliance Manager at Thames Water, said "We're relying on this partnership approach, but will it work? We have been using carrots - but do we need to start talking about sticks?" He added that catchment management combined with controlled abstraction was "very successful when there is enough water," but in times of shortage he feared there were "not enough tools in the armoury." Dr Robin Price, Regional Quality Manager at Anglian Water, echoed this and said that with alternatives available in the form of ferric phosphate, an Environment Agency-enforced ban would enable the industry to "move on" from the issue of metaldehyde and address the wider picture on pesticide use. However, other speakers pointed out the practical di• culties of such an approach. An outright ban on metaldehyde would be problematic as agriculture is the not the only user of the chemical, and the di use nature of metaldehyde pollution in water would make targeted bans di• cult to administer. Dr Nick Cartright, Drinking Water Manager at the Environment Agency, said: "If you start drawing lines saying in this • eld is in, this • eld is out, then experience suggests that individuals will challenge those decisions and some will appeal. There needs to be a high level of scienti• c evidence to back that up." But Nicola Dunn, Drinking Water Quality Lead at the National Farmers Union, argued that a ban would be a 'blunt tool' and that a partnership approach was preferable. THE SPEAKERS "It's time to move on from the distraction of metaldehyde, and to start talking about total pesticides." Dr Robin Price Regional Quality Manager Anglian Water "What water customers expect is the service they get from everyone else – we all expect instant service, the water industry should be no diff erent." Martin Padley Director, Water & Scientifi c Services, United Utilities "What keeps me awake at night is the elements that we can't control – 11,000 square km of catchment and thousands of stakeholders." David Reynolds Quality and compliance manager, Thames Water James Brockett reports from Birmingham "Ultimately we have got to be responsible for the entire supply chain of where water comes from – it's exactly how a food manufacturer would think." Heidi Mottram Chief Executive Northumbrian Water Events

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