Home Places Streets and Communities “Worms in Water – Specimens Shown – “No Bacterial Effect”

“Worms in Water – Specimens Shown – “No Bacterial Effect”

June 1948

South Yorkshire Times June 19, 1948

“Worms in Water.
Protest To Dearne Board
Specimens Shown at Meeting
“No Bacterial Effect” Say Experts

Mr. Fred Hawksworth, Clerk of Hearne Urban Council, told me on Wednesday that the Council have now been informed by the West Riding County Pathologist that “worms” alleged to have been found in Goldthorpe’s water supply were “of the Insect larvae type, most likely mosquito, but that the presence of that larvae would not have any bacterial effect on the water,”

“Alive and Kicking.”

A sample of the water in question was produced in a bottle at last Wednesday’s  meeting at Wombwell of Dearne Valley Water board by Coun. J, Noble, a Dearne, representative on the Board. He said it contained “worms” and told the Board that the water had been drawn from the tap at a local dispensary.

“These things,” he said, “are not dead, but they are alive and kicking.” The people of the district were getting very perturbed about it.

What Councillor Noble had referred to as “worms.” were described by the Board’s Engineer (Mr. T. M. Beswick) as “developments.” He said they would appear in any water that was stagnant. In water that was flowing there was no time for such developments, even if they sterilised water and stored It they’ would still get those ‘developments,’ They were also spoken of as foreign bodies.”

The bottle of water, which I learned was obtained at Goldthorpe, was returned last Thursday to Dearne Council Offices at Bolton where it was collected, in collaboration with Dr. J. Leiper, Dearne’s new Medical Officer, by Dr. Colbeck, County Pathologist, and taken to Wakefield for bacterial test.

At the Board meeting Coun. Noble produced the medicine bottle “with a kind of worm in it.” He said this was the water that was being mixed with medicine for sick people. “I understand a lot of those have been seen,” he said, “and they are here again for the Board to see.” They as a Board would have to do something about it.

Coun. L. Wilkinson (Dearne) said he had seen a similar sample that day with “foreign bodies” in it, and a certain amount of sand deposit. The position had become Intolerable for the Dearne district,

Mr. Beswick said he did not know how the worms got Into the water, but they were the sort of things which got into the water anywhere.

The Board decided that the committee should be asked to investigate, expert opinion to be consultant.

“Brown” Water.

Enquiries I made in the Goldthorpe and Bolton district this week revealed that there is considerable concern about the discolouration of the water. “Brown ochre” was the description of one resident gave.

Coun. J. W. Bedford, (picture, left) Park End, Road, Bolton, said on Wednesday that he understood that the position was worst at the lower end of Bolton.

Another Dearne resident confessed that the position was such that for months he had been giving his two   children minerals instead of water. “You can guess how perturbed we are,” he added. “There is an unpleasant taste about the water. “You can run your tap for an hour and still the taste is there.”

At the dispensary where the sample was taken I learned that the “worms” were found when, in the normal course of dispensing work, the staff filtered the water. The “foreign” bodies” were found on the filter paper.  When they mixed water with medicine they used distilled water which arrived in carboys.

Coun. Noble (picture, right) said yesterday: “We have not been satisfied altogether with the supplies of water we have been getting, and we have tried every avenue, with the help of our Engineer, to overcome the position. We have not met with much success up  to the present, and we shall now visit the source of supply with the committee and an expert.”

The committee of inspection will consist of Couns. W.A. Williams, J. Potts, C. V Houlton and Noble.

Referring to complaints of discoloration, Mr Noble said that it should be borne in mind that the district was suffering a loss of water which it could ill afford because people were allowing the water to run in the hope that it would become clear.

“Every effort ls being made by Dearne’s representatives on the Water Board to remedy the position as soon as ever possible,” he added.