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Newquay dogs' home left without fresh water for a month

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

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CONTAMINATED WATER:  Sue Penda with fresh bottled water alongside the home's tap water

CONTAMINATED WATER: Sue Penda with fresh bottled water alongside the home's tap water

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A NEWQUAY charity which rescues dogs has hit out after it was left without fresh running water for a month.

Animals at St Francis Home For Animals have had to drink the "orange-coloured" contaminated water and staff have had to take supplies in from their own homes since the beginning of December.

The news comes following a test of the water, carried out by South West Water, which revealed iron levels at the Porth home's supply had at times reached more than 50 times the recommended amount.

Manager Sue Penda said it was her responsibility to look after her staff and volunteers and had no choice but to stop them from drinking the contaminated water, but that this was "logistically impossible" to do for all the dogs.

The charity finally received a bowser containing 100 gallons of fresh water on Monday but says it has been left for a month without any.

She said: "We have had discoloured water for years but South West Water (SWW) has flushed the system and assured us it was just iron causing the colouring.

"I insisted, after a particularly bad bout, that the water was properly tested. It turns out that the iron content is at best around 3 times the recommended limit and at worst around 50 times the recommendations. The zinc levels are similar.

"I have had to advise all staff and volunteers not to drink the tap water and we have been using either bottled water or people have been bringing in containers from their own homes, however, it has been logistically impossible to do this for all our dogs."

Mrs Penda said the water company believed the contamination was due to an old pipe which connects with a large water main, and that it is the responsibility of the home to replace.

However, Mrs Penda disputes this and said the repair work was likely to cost in the region of £10,000, which would have a "severe impact" on the charity.

"SWW has told us it is the old galvanised iron pipe that runs under Trevelgue Road and across the Sands resort golf course to join up with the large water main in Watergate Road causing the contamination," she said.

"The difficulty is they claim we are responsible for replacing this pipe even though their letter says they are responsible to our boundary stopcock.

"It means we will have to take it out of our capital that is invested and it is the interest from that which keeps the home running. We have applied for a grant but we won't know the results of that until after March.

"It will have a severe impact on the home. It's a lot of money for a small charity."

In a statement, SWW said: "Our investigations show that the cause of the elevated metal levels at St Francis Dogs' Home in Newquay is the supply pipe belonging to the dogs' home. We have visited the property on a number of occasions and explained that the responsibility to replace this pipe lies with the owners.

"We have every sympathy with the owners' situation, which is why as a goodwill gesture we arranged for one of our approved contractors to visit the property and supply a quote for the work needed. We have also offered to temporarily supply a bowser free of charge as a further goodwill gesture, which will be delivered today (Monday)."

Mrs Penda was thankful to South West Water, who offered free connection to the mains supply and coronation to save the charity money.

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