Underground room creates odour problem

A water company was contacted by a customer regarding an unusual odour to the water. The on-site investigation confirmed a mild solvent type odour was present in the water at the property and other properties in the apartment block.The water company checked other apartment blocks adjacent and the water was found to be satisfactory with no unusual taste or odour.

The investigation quickly established that a packaged plant comprising underground cold water storage cistern and booster pumps supplying the apartments was the source of the odour. The packaged plant was located in an underground room.The floor to the pump room had recently been painted (less than 1m2) by the maintenance company and due to the reduced ventilation in the glass reinforced plastic (GRP) kiosk, vapour from the paint had dissolved into the water in the cold water storage cistern. The compounds identified in samples from the properties were typical of those present in the paint.

Installers are reminded that notification of any similar underground pumped storage systems needs to be given to water companies. An understanding of alternative supply systems and alternative water supply types on a site helps in rapid resolution of any customer contacts to companies.