The quality of our water is important to us all even before it reaches our taps. This section looks at how the quality of the water in the environment is managed:

  Bathing water quality
  Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
  Fracking

Bathing water in England and Wales

As the summer gets underway and the weather warms up, many of us decide to visit the seaside or local beauty spots.

There are over 400 outdoor designated bathing water spots in England. These are monitored by the Environment Agency for levels of bacteria and other pollutants. In Wales, over 100 beaches are monitored by Natural Resources Wales.

You can find more information about bathing water quality classification, what affects the water and what’s being done locally in England or Wales

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

What are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and why are they important to understand when it comes to your water use?

The endocrine system in humans controls the production and release of hormones within our bodies.

There are, however, a wide range of substances known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) that are able to mimic or interfere with the functioning of the human endocrine system; and, therefore, hormonal balance.

Some of these can be found in river water. However, this is rare and when they do occur, the amounts are exceptionally small.

Detailed studies have shown that conventional wastewater and water treatments will remove any EDCs to almost undetectable levels.

As a result, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) is happy to state that there is no evidence that EDCs are a potential risk to human health through our drinking water supplies.

CCW is therefore reassured that our drinking water is clean and safe to drink.

We do, however, advise that the DWI and the water companies should do more to communicate tap water safety standards and controls to water users and we work with them to ensure this is done.

Fracking

There has been a great deal of media coverage in recent years about fracking. So what is it and why is it of interest to CCW and water consumers?

Fracking is the process of hydraulic fracturing, which is a technique that pumps fluid, usually water, at high pressure into the rock to create fractures, or gaps that enable natural gas to flow to the surface.

In the UK at the moment, the available evidence on potential risks is limited. Furthermore, CCW does not possess specific scientific or technical expertise in this area. However, we know that customers have told us that it is important that their water supply is safe and reliable.

We therefore expect the Government and the relevant regulatory authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that the public water supply will not be affected by fracking.

If fracking should cause problems we would expect that the costs of any necessary corrective action would met by the fracking operators and not by water customers.

In the past, we have argued that water and sewerage companies should be involved in fracking applications and as a result, this is now a condition of the relevant Infrastructure Act 2015.

We will continue to monitor the debate, including any legislative developments, as well as consult with key stakeholders such as Water UK and the Drinking Water Inspectorate.