Cryptosporidium outbreak: South West Water fails to rid Brixham water of parasites 13 days on

Bottled water arrived in Brixham after a cryptosporidium outbreak in the town
-Credit: (Image: Chris Slack)

South West Water (SWW) has issued an update as it fails to rid Brixham of its contaminated water nearly two weeks on from the parasite scandal in Devon. A boil notice remains in place for around 2,500 properties in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear where drinking water remains unsafe to consume.

It's after cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite, was found in the water with a boil notice first issued on May 15. The bug caused dozens of people to fall ill with diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting earlier this month with SWW still providing thousands of cases of bottled water as it works round the clock to fix the problem.

SWW lifted the boil notice for the Alston supply area of Brixham covering 14,500 households over the weekend but more than 2,000 households are still impacted. The notice was initially put in place after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed it is investigating cases of cryptosporidiosis, the infection caused by the cryptosporidium parasite, confirmed to have infected as many as 77 people.

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In an update issued on bank holiday Monday, May 27, the water company said teams are continuing to work around the clock and apologised it was taking so long to resolve. The man in charge of the incident said he was "grateful" for everyone's patience.

David Harris, incident director at South West Water, said: "Our engineering and network teams are continuing their work throughout bank holiday Monday, as we thoroughly clean, test and filter the affected water network. I'm sorry this is taking so long, but we need to be meticulous in resolving this problem before we can safely lift the boil water notice.

“In the meantime, we continue to deliver bottled water to properties every day across the boil water notice area. For those not at home, bottled water stations remain open between 7am and 9pm at Broadsands, Freshwater Quarry and Churston Car Boot field. We will keep all these sites open until the boil water notice is lifted.

“Customers can also visit our drop-in session in Kingswear Village Hall, and our community van is in Brixham today. Both are open between 11am and 4pm for customers with any concerns regarding the boil water notice, compensation, and support.

“We know how disruptive this continues to be, especially over the long weekend. We are making good progress, but there is more work to do. I am hugely grateful to customers for their patience, but also their kindness to our staff as we work to safely restore the water supply."

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