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Tap Water Smelling Bad in North East London

BY Boon Koh
Published 4 March 2010

The next time you fill your glass with tap water from the sink, take a deep sniff before you take a sip. In certain parts of North East London in February, residents started reporting that their tap water had a strange tanginess to it.

The apparent mystery of the foul smelling water has been solved, with Thames Water coming out and saying that the smell was caused by industrial chemicals that had been dumped into the River Lea. The chemical in question have the technical names 2-EDD and 2-EMD, and are both used in glues and manufacturing. However, Thames Water has reassured that at the levels detected, the chemicals are “harmless”, and that they had only received 800 complaints from over 2 million of its customers living in the catchment area served by the River Lea. The contaminated water was being processed at Walthamstow water works, which serves the regions of Newham, Stratford, and Walthamstow.

Karen Harding of Evesham Road had this to say: “It’s disgusting. It smells like manure and has a vile taste. I’ve been using bottled water to drink and brush my teeth.”

An investigation has been launched into how the 2-EDD and 2-EMD chemicals found its way into the River Lea, with initial suspicions that it was from an accidental leak. As a precautionary measure, Thames Water is no longer sourcing water from the River Lea and is supplying Newham and Walthamstow with water from the River Thames instead, which is unaffected.

How do I complain if I detect a smell?
You can contact Thames Water directly at 0845 9200 800, which will get through to their customer service team. If you notice anything fishy, smelly or off-colour about your tap water, it is best to call the number of not drink anymore from your glass till it is reported.

I’m not in the affected area, but I still don’t like the taste and smell of the hard London water. What can I do?
Instead of gulping down your water or holding your nose while you drink it, you can buy one of the many graphite water filters in the market which remove the impurities in tap water, as well as to deodorize the water. The most famous brand of home water filters is Brita, and one of their best selling water filter jugs is the Brita Marella Graphite Water Filter Jug. At £16, it will hardly break the bank and will leave you with peace of mind. Available at all big department stores as well as online here at Amazon.co.uk for only £17 and with free shipping.

Article written by Boon Koh.

  • Jamie

    OMG I think they are hiding more then what they say. I am recieveing this water also. When I spit there is a green colour in my spit that I have detected. If I die or become ill beause of this let it been known the cause.

    Good day!!! ;(((((((((((((