AS the Malvern Gazette continues its call for a better system to alert people about contamination of the springs and wells around the Malvern Hills, authorities are warning that water from these sources must be boiled before use.

The newspaper's campaign for a Malvern Hills Springs Alert comes after the revelation that all 12 of the principal water sources around the hills had tested positive for bacterial contamination.

These included spouts such as Lower Wyche and Hayslad, where Malvern water fans frequently collect water, as well as much-visited tourist favourites such as St Ann's Well.

Notices went up on the springs themselves in November, but the warnings were not circulated more widely until the Malvern Gazette revealed the situation in February.

A Malvern Hills Springs Alert would use the internet and social media to show the current status of the main water sources.

This means visitors to the hills could check for themselves whether the springs were drinkable before setting out for Malvern.

Water flowing from springs on the Malvern Hills is tested four times a year by Worcestershire Regulatory Services for bacteria.

The most recent test, taken at the end of February, showed that the spouts at Hayslad and St Ann's Well were free of contamination.

Mark Cox of Worcestershire Regulatory Services said: "We sample the 12 water sources quarterly, and changing that. whether to once a year or 15 times a year, would be a political decision to be taken by Malvern Hills District Council.

"But what we want everyone to remember is that even when the test shows a sample is clear of contamination, that only apples to that sample taken on that day.

"It could become contaminated a day later, so our advice is always to boil the water, a rolling boil for five minutes, to make sure you kill off the bacteria, just as you cook meat through to kill bacteria."

The contamination is caused by animal droppings on the hills, both from livestock and from wildlife such as rabbits. Unusual weather conditions, including both very dry and very wet weather, can increase bacteria levels in the water.

  • What state are the springs in today? Take a picture and tweet using #SpringsAlert, email me or text 80360 MG News