We wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing since we announced our decision last summer to look at ways to reinstate partial water softening for Saffron Walden.

What have we been doing?

Our engineers have been working hard to source new specialised equipment to reinstate partial water softening at our treatment plant that supplies water to the Saffron Walden area.

As per our communications last year, you’ll know that Saffron Walden was unique in our supply area to receive partially softened water. The water across southeast England is naturally hard and we do not supply softened water to any other households in our supply area. It’s not a common treatment within the water industry in general either. Therefore, there are currently no products available for us to use in our water treatment plant, to reintroduce partial softening that meet the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) regulations.

What needs to happen next?

Our engineers have identified a number of potential products that are currently going through a water industry regulatory approval process. The DWI is the independent regulator of drinking water in England and Wales – they ensure that water companies supply safe drinking water that is acceptable to consumers and meets the standards set down in law, so any new equipment must pass the DWI Regulation 31 approval process.

How long might this take?

We wanted you to know that this approval process can take quite a long time as it makes sure that any new equipment that’s used in the treatment of drinking water, meets tough standards to ensure the water we provide remains of the highest quality.

We expect that we’ll have an update on the approval process for the equipment we’ve identified in summer 2022. If these products are then fully approved, we’ll be able to start the process of buying this equipment and awarding a contract to a supplier to install at our water treatment works.  The installation of the equipment could take up to 18 months from the award of the contract, but we’ll do everything we can to do this as quickly as possible.

Thank you

We’d like to thank you for your patience during this time and want to reassure you that we’re absolutely committed to reinstate softening, when the right products are available. When we have any news on the new equipment, we’ll make sure to keep you updated.

Kevin Barton
Head of External Communications
Corporate Affairs

Affinity Water Limited