2,500 Devon homes still under boil water notice ahead of May bank holiday weekend

South West Water at the reservoir at Hillhead, Brixham, as a Cryptosporidium outbreak impacts local drinking water
-Credit: (Image: Chris Slack)


South West Water (SWW) has confirmed it is still not yet known when it will be able to lift a boil water notice that is still in place for around 2,500 households in the Hillhead area of Brixham due to a cryptosporidium outbreak. It means residents will have to continue boiling water over the bank holiday weekend and possibly for a third week.

SWW has assured it is working 'tirelessly' to eliminate any traces of cryptosporidium. It is continuing to flush and clean the water system across the Hillhead supply area.

It says it will not lift the remaining boil water notice until it and its public health partners are 'absolutely satisfied' it is safe to do so. Today, May 24, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the current number of confirmed cases of cryptosporidium has risen to 77.

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The cause of the outbreak is believed to be a damaged air valve on private land. Work is ongoing to resolve the issue.

Yesterday, May 23, SWW said it had 157 on the ground working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. However, it added its 'entire company' is focussed on resolving the issue as a priority.

Workers at the South West Water Hillhead Reservoir site on May 18, 2024 in Brixham, England. -Credit:Hugh Hastings/Getty Images
Workers at the South West Water Hillhead Reservoir site on May 18, 2024 in Brixham, England. -Credit:Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

Earlier today, DevonLive reported SWW has announced a further increase in compensation for people affected by the outbreak. The payment for those still under the boil water notice is now £265 rather than the previously reported £115.

In an update yesterday evening, May 24, SWW apologised for the impact the parasite infection is continuing to have in the Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear areas. On Wednesday, May 15, SWW confirmed it had detected 'small traces' of the parasite infection in Alston and the Hillhead area of the coastal town - less than 24 hours after stating it was safe to drink the water after all its water supply tests had come back clear.

The boss of SWW has been spared an appearance before MPs demanding answers to the parasite outbreak by the announcement of a general election. The Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA) says it has 'serious concerns' about the incident which crippled the water network and left many people ill.

Any decision on a new date will have to wait until after the election on July 4.

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