HC Deb 10 December 1888 vol 331 cc1582-3
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether complaints have reached him of the bad quality of the water supplied by the South-West Suburban Water Company, which carries on business outside the Metropolis, by virtue of a private Act of Parliament passed in 1883; and whether there is any power, either in the Local Government Board or in any Local Authority, to inspect the works of that Company, or in any way to take steps to insure the purity of the supply; and, if not, whether he will consider the propriety of conferring on extra-Metropolitan districts securities similar to those provided for the Metropolis by Section 4 of "The Metropolis Water Act, 1852," and Sections 35 and 36 of "The Metropolis Water Act, 1871?"

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

Two complaints have been received by the Local Government Board with reference to the quality of the water supplied by the South-West Suburban Water Company, who supply a very considerable area. The last of these complaints was made by the Staines Local Board in June last. The Local Board admitted that the Company's water was periodically analyzed on behalf of the Company by Professor Atfield, who certified it to be pure; and the Local Government Board have been furnished by the Company with those analyses, which, it appears, are taken monthly. The analysis for October last certifies that the sample taken is a most excellent sample of water for drinking, cooking, washing, and steam purposes generally, and for manufacturing operations. The Board have no control over Water Companies outside the Metropolis similar to that exercised by them under the Metropolis Water Acts. I am not aware that a Local Authority has power to claim the right of inspecting the works of this Company; but it is the duty of the Company, under the Waterworks Clauses Acts, to keep in their pipes a supply of pure and wholesome water; and I presume that a Company would be liable to indictment for failure to comply with this statutory requirement. I cannot give any undertaking that the Government will propose that they should appoint Water Examiners for the several Water Companies in England and Wales outside the Metropolis; but it may well be a question whether, when County Councils have been constituted, it may not be desirable that some such powers should be conferred on them.