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Drinking water quality

Testing the quality of water and central labs.

On a typical day Hartlepool Water supplies around 33 million litres of water to 90,000 people in the Borough of Hartlepool, including the surrounding villages of Greatham, Dalton Piercy, Elwick, Hart and Wynyard.

All our drinking water comes from underground, pumped from 19 boreholes sunk deep into the limestone rock at 11 sites. The water is blended at our three water treatment works prior to supply, to ensure the required standards for drinking water are met.

Meeting our water quality obligations is our number one priority. Water quality is the key to protecting our customers’ health and well-being and we take our responsibilities very seriously. Drinking water quality remained excellent in 2008, with our mean zonal compliance at 100 per cent.

The quality of water supplies can be affected both by how we operate and maintain our water supply systems and how customers use and store water in their homes. As part of our water safety planning process there is some important advice for customers to help get the very best from their water supply on the Water UK website.

Our Annual Water Quality Report provides details of the quality of drinking water at our treatment works, storage points, and at our customers’ taps for the last calendar year and highlights our continued high compliance with regulatory requirements.

Further independent information on drinking water quality in the Hartlepool Water region can be obtained in the Drinking Water report by the Chief Inspector of the DWI (Drinking Water Inspectorate), as well as on the DWI website.

Links to our recent reports are listed below. In addition, a link to the Drinking water Inspectorate website is provided so that you can read the reports that the DWI compiles about our performance on water quality.

For full details of the water quality in your area, please use the postcode search function to download reports for your locality.

Water quality and safety plan

Hartlepool Water provides high-quality water meeting all the standards set out within the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000/2001 (amendment) Regulation 2007, the legally enforceable water quality standards set down in UK law.

The UK regulations also require us to have a water safety plan to protect the quality of drinking water as it travels from source to tap. This Plan helps us to reduce the risks to the quality of your drinking water by ensuring that we carry out proper inspection, monitoring and maintenance of all our assets, including boreholes, treatment works, storage reservoirs and water mains. The Plan also helps us to set out our investment needs to improve our assets.

We also offer advice on how you can protect water quality in your home and how to obtain a leaflet called Looking After Water in Your Home.

Further information

We hope that you will find this information useful and informative, but if you have any queries about water quality in your home, please contact us.

Routine Maintenance - Flushing

Our distribution systems are assessed and flushed routinely as part of our planned preventative maintenance programme, in order to remove the sediments which can cause discoloured water. We also take samples randomly from customer taps to monitor any increase in iron levels and can take action to reduce levels where necessary.
Running your tap for a short period should resolve the problem.

However, if the water does not clear or occurs repeatedly, please immediately contact Hartlepool Water immediately on 01429 858 050.

A demonstration video of flushing works is available for you to view below.

Flushing demonstration video

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Questions Frequently Asked About Flushing

Answers to questions we are often asked about flushing are listed below. If your query is not resolved though please call us on 01429 858 050.

Why do you do this work?

Hartlepool Water owns and operates over 500km of water mains laid along every residential street in the town and local villages of Hart, Elwick, Greatham and Dalton Piercy. These water mains are made of various materials including polyethylene, PVC, ductile iron and cast iron. Whilst the more modern materials are virtually maintenance free, cast iron pipes produce small amounts of rusty sediments that need to be removed regularly.

Rust sediments are harmless to health but can cause unexpected discoloured water if water flows change suddenly. In general, flow changes are caused by high demand from customers, fire fighting or burst water mains.

Each year, we plan regular area flushing across the town. This involves the following:
• We drop warning cards through all customer letterboxes the week before to warn of when we are in your area and the precautions you need to take.
• We visit each street in an area of the town over a three day period, close various underground valves and open fire hydrants to flush the water mains at high flows removing all rusty sediments to nearby road gullies.
• The flushing teams work to strict guidelines to ensure customers who are not warned are not affected by the works
Each area is flushed on average once every three years so if you receive a warning card from us, you are unlikely to hear from us again for some time.

What will I see as a customer when you do this work?

Hopefully very little. Each water main in a typical street will take around 20 minutes to flush during which time there will be discoloured water if the tap is turned on in the house. We advise that customers do not use water consuming appliances at any time during the warned period to prevent the risk of damage. We also advise customers to put aside a small quantity of water for drinking should they need water at the time it might be discoloured.

We flush the mains until they are clear of sediments and then move onto the next street. You will see our flushing team opening covers in the street and opening hydrants to flush the discoloured water down the road gullies. It is important to note that we do not need access to anyone’s house or business at any time. Always be on your guard for bogus “water board” officials.

Whay can you not give shorter warning periods when it takes so little time to flush individual water mains?

We warn for a three-day period based upon an area that we predict the flushing team can cover. Flushing times will vary for any one street based on the amount of sediment present. Also, we can be flushing in one street which may affect a number of other streets nearby. It is difficult therefore to predict exactly when we will be in your street so to be cautious, we warn for a full three working days.

What if I am in business and need water every day?

If your business processes depend upon a continuous supply of water, then it might be worth considering storage. Many of our larger customers have onsite storage to cater for interruptions to supply in emergencies for example. If you have specific needs, for example hairdressers, we can offer targeted warnings on the day. Our flushing team can call 30 minutes before they are to flush the local water main to help you. However, we accept no liability for damage given that the three-day warning is in place but will do all we can to minimise the inconvenience this essential works creates. Please contact us when you receive the warning card and we can discuss what steps we might be able to take to help

I am a Careline customer registered as having special needs. What can I expect?

All Careline customers are contacted in advance either by telephone or by a personal visit to explain the works and for us to understand any special needs that they may have whilst the work is in progress. It is important that we have up to date records so that we can contact you.

Why are you wasting all of this water when there are water shortages?

Whilst it would appear that large quantities of water are flushing straight down the drain, this is the most cost effective way of removing the rusty sediments that can cause customers so much inconvenience in the home and workplace. We are careful to only flush for as long as absolutely necessary to ensure the water supplies are clear when we leave.

We also measure the amounts we flush to account for the losses. As a proportion of the daily demand used by Hartlepool customers, any three day flushing exercise will use less than 1% of the water used across the whole of Hartlepool. We take our responsibility to use water wisely seriously and do all we can to minimise the amounts used.

Drinking water quality documents

Please select the documents below to find out more about our drinking water quality. 


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