Fear of 'unsafe' water at Southsea filling stations as they repeatedly fail Legionella lab tests

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WATER refill stations costing £38,000 of public cash have repeatedly failed tests for Legionella with council workers flushing away thousands of litres of water to keep them safe.

Four units were installed last year in Southsea by Portsmouth City Council but it has emerged they have repeatedly failed laboratory tests.

The water filling station at Clarence Esplanade. It is one of five costing Portsmouth City Council 37,900 but they are producing water with a risk of Legionella. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The water filling station at Clarence Esplanade. It is one of five costing Portsmouth City Council 37,900 but they are producing water with a risk of Legionella. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Such is the concern about Legionella that council officers are spending six to eight hours a week flushing water through the stations, reducing the risk.

Since they were installed 6,568 litres have been drunk by the public, while 6,164 litres were wasted in flushing through the system – according to meters installed on each station.

The risk emerges when water is left to stagnate and systems are flushed through to stop this happening.

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Speaking at a full council meeting, city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who  said: ‘There is a real concern about the quality of water that is there, and we cannot be - as a council - producing water which has a risk of Legionella and asking people to use this.

‘I've got a real concern that there appears to be a project ill-conceived, it would seem, which is producing water which is unsafe for people to drink and repeatedly failing the sampling regime.

‘I think we need to look very, very carefully at this before we roll it out further.

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‘The aim may have been very, very laudable but this just doesn't seem to work as a product.’

Funding of £37,900 came from the Public Health Transformation Fund for the project, with £30,656 spent so far. Work is being done to find out how much maintenance will cost, including possible automatic flushing of the stations.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘The water wastage that we're putting in is enormous.’

The stations were brought in under the previous Conservative-led administration at the city council, now run by the Liberal Democrats.

They are in Clarence Esplanade, Eastney Esplanade, near the Pyramids Centre and in South Parade. A fifth is due to be installed in Duisburg Way.