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Wrexham - Wrexham Water Established 1863.
Industrial growth and shameful sanitary conditions compelled townsmen to establish Wrexham Water Company.
For 50 or more years, prior to the formation of the Company during a period of rapid growth of industrial towns, public attention had been focused on sanitation in general and on water supply in particular.
This resulted in the passing of the Water Works Clauses Act 1847.
Although in the 17th Century, the town was described as "Trim Wricksam Town - the pearl of Denbighshire", by the early part of the 19th Century the sanitary conditions prevailing were deplorable. The inhabitants had to depend entirely on shallow wells and pumps for their supply of drinking water.
Several attempts were made by various industrialists to supply a public piped supply of wholesome water, but these efforts failed on the grounds of cost. However, after Wrexham received its Charter of Incorporation on 23 September 1857, the inhabitants, then numbering 7,500, hoped that greater interest would be taken to improve the existing sanitary conditions. Objects of the application for Incorporation was the provision of "a good system of drainage and better supply of water".
As nothing had been done during the succeeding years to improve the water supply, a number of enterprising townsmen took steps in 1863 to establish the Wrexham Waterworks Company with a capital of £15,000 for the purpose of bringing a piped supply from Pentrebychan stream to the town and promoted a Bill of Parliament which became the Wrexham Water Works Act of 1864.Wrexham Works Completed and Opened January 11th 1867.
The original works consisted of an abstraction reservoir below what is now the Crematorium, together with a storage reservoir and slow sand filters at Packsaddle. The works were completed and opened on 11th January 1867. The water was conveyed to Wrexham through a 10" pipeline which, although renewed in parts, is still in use. The original abstraction reservoir, sand filters and service reservoir have all now been abandoned, largely due to damage by mining subsidence.
As the population of the town increased, it became necessary to obtain additional supplies of water, and by 1878, an impounding reservoir at Cae Llwyd on the Ruabon Mountain was constructed.
The area supplied by the Company was extended to include a large part of East Denbighshire and a small part of Flintshire. To purify the water from the Cae Llwyd Reservoir, the Gronwen Filter Works was constructed. These works, mothballed at present, were refurbished in 1982.
Construction of Ty Mawr Reservoir
In 1904 the construction of another impounding reservoir at Ty Mawr on the Ruabon Mountain was started and completed 4 years later. The Company's area of supply had now extended into Cheshire and further into Flintshire, and the Act which authorised the construction of the reservoir also allowed the Company's name to be changed to Wrexham and East Denbighshire Water Company.
In the drought year of 1921, the Company obtained powers to abstract water from the Park Day Level. A filter station was constructed in 1924, primarily to deal with treatment of water from Ty Mawr Reservoir and Cae Llwyd Reservoir. The water tower at Legacy was constructed and brought into use in 1934 in order to create a retention to the works and enable the chlorine to be effective as a sterilising agent.
In the drought year of 1933, the water from Park Day Level was supplemented by the installation of a pump in the Speedwell shaft in order to pump water from the lower workings of the Minera Mines.
In 1945, a major piece of water works legislation was passed which, besides modernising the water works code, provided for the amalgamation of the water undertakings into larger units.
As a result of this policy of amalgamation, Ruabon Water Company and Ruabon Reservoir Company was acquired in 1952, the Cefn, Acrefair and Rhosymedre Undertaking in 1953, the Brymbo Water Company with its impounding reservoir at Pendinas, Nant-y-Ffrith and Llyn Cyfynwy in 1955, the Garth and Fron Undertakings of the Wrexham Rural District Council Undertakings in April 1974, together with the Llantysilio Undertaking of the Llangollen Rural District Council.
As a result of these amalgamations, the Company was required to operate a large number of works, the majority of which are still in use, having been enlarged and the facilities improved during the period since their absorption.
There has also been a policy of integrating the individual works so that water treated at the works is now transferred into areas not previously supplied from them. In this way, the most economic use is made of the water available.
During this period of amalgamation, the Company acquired in 1951 the power to abstract up to 6 million gallons of water per day from the River Dee at Sesswick, and took over the pumping station and treatment works built by the Ministry of Works to serve the Munitions factory on the site of the present Wrexham Industrial Estate.
These works also supply untreated water to the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The abstraction powers were increased to 9 million gallons of water a day in 1975. This source is now the principal works of the Company, supplying the majority of Wrexham throughout the year and, as the yield from the reservoirs on the Ruabon Mountain reduces during the summer, supplies as far afield as Penyffordd, Penymynydd, Brymbo, Coedpoeth, Rhostyllen and Chirk.
In 1994, the Company, as it exists now, is an amalgamation of many undertakings. The area supplied is the most rural of the water companies if the criteria used is the number of consumers served per kilometre of main. Of the new PLC's it is believed only South West Water PLC is more rural.
Water is treated in 7 works and is distributed through 1,372 km of mains incorporating 28 service reservoirs and 32 booster stations.
Simple chlorination is undertaken at one works. At all other works, some form of treatment other than chlorination is necessary, including air flotation, micostraining, rapid gravity filters and superchlorination and dechlorination is undertaken at some of the works. The air flotation plant at Llwyn Onn Works is believed still to be the second largest in Europe to treat public water supplies.
The Company, regrouped into a single site at Packsaddle, returning to its origins of Wrexham Water back in 1864. The new offices were financed by the exchange of the Egerton Street premises, which have been occupied by the Company since 1902, making it possible to deal with customer enquiries from billing to new supplies, quickly and effectively, with one visit.
At the same time of the move from Egerton Street to Packsaddle, Rhostyllen, a new telemetry system was commissioned, replacing equipment installed in 1983.
Head Office at Packsaddle
The present telemetry system has 22 out stations and provides in excess of 1,000 pieces of information every six minutes. The system is the largest user of low power deregulated radio in Europe. The enhanced capability provides the basis for the forseeable future.
Since the founding of Wrexham Water in 1864, the water industry has seen many changes. Today, many regulatory bodies, such as the EA, OFWAT and DWI oversee the water industry. It is doubtful that our predecessors would recognise either the complexity of the Company, or the amount of regulation that governs our activities.
Conversion to PLC Status
In September 1994 the Company converted from a Statutory Water Company to a plc. The Holding Company is "Dee Valley Water" which came into being at the same time.
Dee Valley was formed in 1997 with the merger of the former Chester Water Company and Wrexham Water Company. Both of these former companies had roots which stretched back to the middle of the nineteenth century.
We look after the most precious of the worlds resources. We do so with utmost care and attention in a changing world. We recognise the importance of planning ahead, to secure and continue our high standards of service. In developing our plan for water, we have sought to provide the right balance between the service we provide and changes to our customers.
We at Dee Valley Water plc are committed to supplying the highest quality drinking water in the most cost effective manner, as we have in the past as we do in the present, and will be in the future.
If you would like further information, advice or help, please contact us on 01978 846946 or call in at our Offices at Packsaddle, Rhostyllen, Wrexham.