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Bramley Water Contamination – Residents Noticed Fuel Smells At Least Three Years Ago

Published on: 31 May, 2024
Updated on: 3 Jun, 2024

The petrol station identified as the source of the contamination in Bramley.

By Martin Giles

One of the main questions Bramley residents have about the contamination of their water supply is why it has taken so long for any action.

Of those questioned by The Dragon this morning several said that they had noticed smells of fuel in different areas of the village at least since 2021, some said before that.

Cllr Paul Follows

Leader of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) Paul Follows, who is also the Lib Dem candidate for Godalming and Ash, told The Dragon this afternoon that he had been given an update brief by his council officers.

They told him that the local water supplier, Thames Water, have the standard plastic pipes for the water mains in the area around the Bramley petrol station but that benzine can migrate through the plastic pipes, which seems to be what has happened.

Thames Water have known about this risk in proximity to the station for some time and have been sampling daily as a result. When they detected issues they issued the stop order.

Workers at the site thought to be installing the new shielded pipes to prevent further contamination. The fuel leak is an issue that Asda inherited when the company purchased the station.

The leak has apparently been addressed and shielded pipes will now be put in by Thames Water to prevent further contamination.

Tess Fayers of Thames Water gives her update to The Dragon…

WBC are working with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and others to support residents and particularly vulnerable residents at this time.

Cllr Follows said: “I urge residents to check the Thames Water website for updates and information about bottled water stations.

“Although not a direct Thames Water failure on this occasion, the state of public infrastructure, chronic under-investment and ineffective regulation by the government are root-causes. When Thames Water are content the water is safe again, I will be pursuing this further.”

Cllr Jane Austin

Ward councillor for Bramley Jane Austin said: “This is yet another awful consequence of the  terrible fuel leak which has afflicted our village for two years. I am really saddened and frustrated, but pleased to see that no chances are being taken with our drinking water supply.

“It’s quite hard to take this all in, to be honest – I hope the investigations isolate the areas of drinking water concern quickly. I fear this will not be the last issue we will have to deal with because of this fuel leak.

“We are a strong community; we’ve got through the curveballs thrown at us over the last two years. This will be no different.”

Jeremy Hunt, the MP for South West Surrey until the election was called, and now the Conservative candidate for Godalming & Ash, said: “Everyone’s first priority is the health and well-being of Bramley residents, so it is right Thames Water are responding decisively.

Jeremy Hunt

“Right now TW have isolated the entire network, but it is my hope the impacted area will reduce quickly as further investigation is undertaken.

“I am coordinating with Thames Water and the UKHSA [UK Health & Security Agency] to ensure everyone has the best health advice and that bottled water is quickly provided to everyone.

“This is yet a further blow to the people of Bramley, who have been frankly incredible in the face of the awful consequences of this fuel leak.”

Thames Water has issued a notice to over 600 properties in Bramley requiring them to cease using mains water for drinking and food preparation.

One of the Bramley Schools – St Catherine’s, was served with a similar notice two weeks ago.

The bottled water distribution point set up at Bramley Library. One of the Thames Water employees said it had been busy earlier. Another distribution point is located at the Artington Park & Ride.

Thames Water is arranging alternative water supplies for the affected properties. The company has confirmed that the mains water supply can still be used for bathing and toilet facilities.

One Bramley resident, who did not wish to be named, gives his view…

Graham Drage, who is standing as the Reform UK candidate for Godalming & Ash in the forthcoming general election, said: “This precautionary measure, stemming from an historical fuel leak that residents have been voicing concerns about since 2021, is a stark indicator of ongoing failures in managing and addressing critical infrastructure issues.

Graham Drage

“The health and safety of our residents must be the highest priority, and it is unacceptable that an issue identified years ago remains unresolved, now leading to serious concerns about water safety. The directive to avoid using tap water for drinking, cooking, or brushing teeth is a severe disruption to daily life and places significant stress on the affected families.

“While it is necessary to take these measures to ensure public health, the root cause of this problem – a fuel leak from a petrol station – should have been promptly and effectively addressed when first identified. Thames Water‘s delayed response and inadequate management of this issue highlight a troubling lack of efficiency and accountability.”

The Chris and Steve Hardstone brothers, who run the Jolly Farmer pub in the village, say how the issue has affected their business for some time despite their reports to the authorities…

Sam Peters of the Waverley and Guildford Green Party said: “It is enormously concerning and disappointing to see yet more issues with our water locally.

“There must now be immediate, properly-resourced efforts to fix the problem in Bramley and ensure all tapwater is safe, with regular ongoing monitoring and full transparency.

“More broadly, the failures of privatised water – from sewage dumping to soaring bills, debt mountains to falling investment in infrastructure – can only be solved by taking water back into public hands, to be run for public good rather than private profit.

“Our rivers are not sewers, and we are not cash machines for shareholders and asset strippers. Yet only the Green Party is committed to the common sense solution of renationalisation – supported by an overwhelming public majority, including 60 per cent of Conservative voters.”

Godalming & Ash general Election Candidates as at May 30

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Responses to Bramley Water Contamination – Residents Noticed Fuel Smells At Least Three Years Ago

  1. RWL Davies Reply

    June 1, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Cllr Jane Austin [Con, Bramley] has been heavily engaged in resolving this issue for some time.

    Not sure that Paul Follows [Lib Dem, Godalming] has.

  2. Olly Azad Reply

    June 3, 2024 at 1:54 am

    Although I myself am not a resident of Bramley I can only imagine the upheaval and inconvenience this must be causing to the residents of Bramley.

    Can I take this moment to say that Chris and Steve Hardstone, proprietors of the Jolly Farmer pub, is somewhere where I’ve stopped over for lunch many times and they have always provided an excellent service despite the ongoing grievances they have with the authorities about the contaminated fuel.

    I hope to revisit them and their helpful staff again very soon.

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