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Water Analysts Say Springs at St Catherine’s Hill ‘Fit For Drinking’

Published on: 19 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 21 Jul, 2020

St Catherine’s Spring comparison. Left, as it was on June 23. Right, as it was today, July 19.

By Martin Giles

Analysis of water periodically discoloured during drilling on nearby St Catherine’s Hill, has shown it is fit for drinking.

The spring at the foot of Ferry Lane and in a nearby garden had taken on a yellow colour for periods but both are now running clear again.

St Catherine’s Spring’s outflow in the River Wey a few yards from the spring.

Samples from several locations including the two springs, a garden fishpond and the river itself all met the UK standards for drinking water.

Stuart Barnes, whose garden has one of the springs and the affected fishpond, said: “l thought there was evidence of contamination at the time of the [first] photographs, in the three weeks or so since then, I think the natural running of clear water has moved any contamination on and presumably into the Wey.”

River Wey swimmers, probably oblivious of the finding that the river water has been found fit to drink. (Notices warn against jumping from the bridge into the river.)

The survey was commissioned by Network Rail, who are stabilising the hill to prevent further erosion affecting the rail tunnel, after Mr Barnes had raised concerns. The analysts, Constructive Evaluation Limited, used the UK drinking water standards as a “conservative” level of purity.

The Network Rail work site on St Catherine’s Hill where work to regrade the slopes above the southern entrance to the sand tunnel is overrunning.

Their report concluded: “Results from the laboratory analytical testing has revealed that the composition of the water found in the pond, spring, Artington Stream and River Wey are all very similar, with none of the water samples exceeding any of the adopted target values. Only chromium was observed to be greater than the detection limit of the laboratory equipment.

“Therefore, there is no evidence that the current works being undertaken on site are impacting the local surface water bodies. I trust the above information is sufficient for your requirements in this matter…”

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