Cryptosporidium outbreak: Water still too infected for Brixham residents to drink

-Credit: (Image: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

Water is still too infected for Brixham residents to drink, despite progress being made to clear an outbreak of cryptosporidium. The cryptosporidium parasite was found in the water supply for the Brixham area more than two weeks ago, with residents being advised to boil water before consumption.

The cause of the outbreak is believed to be a damaged air valve on private land. David Harris, an incident director at South West Water, confirmed that they are making "good progress" in removing cryptosporidium from the water supply in Kingswear, Hillhead and upper parts of Brixham area.

Over the past week, the firm has cleaned its reservoirs, flushed the network several times and installed new filters in an attempt to remove the remaining traces of cryptosporidium. However residents must continue to boil water before any consumption such as drinking and brushing teeth.

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Mr Harris said: "Our regular sampling results show we are making good progress with removing cryptosporidium from the water supply in Kingswear, Hillhead and upper parts of Brixham area. Our teams are continuing to complete our programme of work, which includes rigorous cleaning processes, as well as installation of additional protection measures, such as specialised filters and ultra violet treatment.

"In the meantime, we encourage people to continue to use water around their homes for washing, cleaning and flushing toilets. The smaller pipes in customer homes compared with our network means that water moves through home plumbing at a much greater speed.

"This speed of movement creates enough force to clean the pipes in customers’ homes and so it is important customers continue to ensure they use water, but boil it for any consumption like drinking and brushing teeth.

"We are working as quickly as possible to fix this situation. Public health remains our absolute priority and we will only lift the boil water notice when we are confident it is safe to do so and our public health partners agree. We will continue to keep customers and businesses up to date with progress.

"Our main priority is to return supply to the quality our customers expect and deserve, quickly and safely.”

Boil water notices are still in place for around 2,500 households in the Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear due to the outbreak. 100 confirmed cases of cryptosporidium have been reported by the UK Health Security Agency as they continue to monitor the outbreak.

Those with symptoms of cryptosporidium, which include watery diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea or vomiting and fever, the advice is should stay off nursery, school and work for 48 hours since the last episode of illness, and anyone with diarrhoea should not go swimming for 14 days after their last episode of illness.

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