Concerns council has 'given up' investigation over contaminated spa water at Pittville Pump Rooms

Cheltenham became known as a spa town resort after the discovery of mineral springs in 1716. Credit: Google Maps

There are concerns that an investigation into contaminated spa water in a town has been "given up," two years after the issue was supposed to be resolved.

In 2021, bacteria was detected in the spa waters at Cheltenham's Pittville Pump Rooms making it unfit for human consumption.

The Pump Room is understood to be the only place in the town where the spa waters can be taken.

Cheltenham Borough Council said has been working with The Cheltenham Trust to clean the water tank and system and replace the UV filters.

A new pump was set to be installed at the bottom of the well in October 2021.

Councillors had hoped that the water would be available for the public to try by January 2022, but the cause of the contamination remains unknown and some councillors are concerned the investigation has been "given up."

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the council spent £378,207 on the Pump Rooms in 2021/22, with £123,309 of this related to either planned or reactive repairs.

The cost of repairing the pump in 2021 was £7,483.

Finance and assets cabinet member Peter Jeffries said the property team replaced the spa water pump in the well which meant the spa tap was operational.

“Following the repair, the cold water storage tank was cleaned and disinfected following external advice in advance of water samples being taken,” he said.

“At the start of October the spa water was tested and the results show the quality of the water was unsatisfactory and not suitable for consumption.“

'Water was unsatisfactory'

Speaking at a council meeting earlier in December, Councillor Stephan Fifield asked leaders for an update on the situation.

Cllr Jeffries responded by saying the actual cause of the contamination is "not something that is an ongoing piece of work."

"It’s just ongoing in terms of monitoring," he added.

Cllr Fifield said it was a sad day for Cheltenham Spa.

"It’s been over two years since the then Mayor Of Cheltenham invited me to have a drink of the spa waters when they were back available to the public," he said.

"Over two years later, we now know that the waters are still not drinkable, and the council have given up their investigation as to why the waters are contaminated.

He added: "Unless the council and trust change their plans to get the waters back, we can now assume that ’taking the waters’ in Cheltenham has gone forever – and it was under their watch."

LDRS/ Carmelo Garcia