Work has started on a £6 million project to deliver even better drinking water to customers in South Devon.

South West Water is investing £6 million at Tottiford Water Treatment Works, near Bovey Tracey, to install six new granular activated carbon filters, a new pumping station and a state-of-the-art ultraviolet disinfection system at the works.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) is a specially engineered porous material with a large internal surface area – just one teaspoon has the same surface area as a football pitch.

Due to its large surface area and special surface chemistry, it can remove natural and man-made organic matter sometimes present in Fernworthy, Kennick, Trenchford and Tottiford reservoirs, which supply the water treatment works.

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection uses UV light to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses sometimes found in the untreated reservoir water.

Chris Rockey, Head of Drinking Water Quality, said: “We already have some of the best tap water in the country but this major investment in additional treatment will deliver even better drinking water to our customers in South Devon.”

Water that has passed through the GAC and UV treatment process will start being introduced into supply from March 2018.

This approach was undertaken successfully at Restormel and Wendron water treatment works in Cornwall in 2014.