Tap Water: Residents in North Uist asked to use bottled water. Pic: © STV
Residents in North Uist are being warned not to drink tap water because of dangerous levels of aluminium.
Around 450 households and businesses on the West coast of North Uist are being told not to cook or drink with the tap water with immediate effect.
The advice has been issued by an Incident Management Team (IMT) consistently raised aliminium levels were detected at the Bayhead Water Treatment Works which supplies the area.
The affected area runs from Scolpaig to Grimsay in the west coast. Regions supplied by treatment works at Lochmaddy and Benbecula are not affected.
Bottled water was being delivered to affected households and businesses on Wednesday evening.
Water supplies are also available from Balranald Church, The Old Church at Carnish, The Bayhead Shop, Clachan Stores and Ardnasgruban Post Box at Grimsay.
Dr Ken Oates, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Highland, said “acute” health effects from taking too much aliminium were “extremely unlikely”.
He said: “We would like to emphasise that this is a precautionary measure and that there is no evidence that anyone has consumed water which may have caused them adverse health effects due to the consumption of aluminium.
“We appreciate the inconvenience this advice will bring to people and businesses in the affected areas, but at all times our priority has to be the protection of public health.
“Longer term effects would only occur after consumption of very high levels over a very prolonged period of time and that is why this precautionary action has been taken at this early stage to avoid any possibility of that occurring.”
The IMT is made up of representatives from NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, Western Isles Council and Scottish Water.
Local people are advised not to use tap water for drinking, food preparation, making babies’ feeds, brushing teeth or for pets. Drinks and ice dispensing machines should also be avoided as they may be connected to the mains supply. Water can still be used for washing clothes, baths, showers and flushing toilets.
Customers with questions can contact Scottish Water on 0845 601 8855.