Cryptosporidium: South West Water confirms new payouts for boil notice homes

Broadsands water distribution operation in response to the Cryptosporidium outbreak
Broadsands water distribution operation in response to the Cryptosporidium outbreak -Credit:Chris Slack

Around 2,500 homes still under a boil water notice after a cryptosporidium outbreak in the Torbay area are now entitled to more compensation, South West Water has confirmed in a new statement on the ongoing situation.

In a bulletin released on Sunday, the company says more than 200 staff and contractors are on the ground working to 'urgently resolve' the situation in the Hillhead supply area, where it is still advising around 2,500 properties to boil their drinking water before consuming.

The company has already identified a probable cause of the fault at Hillhead - a damaged air valve on private farmland - and is 'urgently investigating' how this has happened. It comes as part of Brixham had its boil water notice issued after water quality test results came back clear.

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David Harris, SWW Drought and Resilience Director, said: "The Hillhead reservoir has been successfully drained, thoroughly cleaned, and we will start refilling today. We will also start flushing the wider Hillhead network today, which is being continuously monitored as we work to eliminate any traces of cryptosporidium. We will not lift the boil water notice in Hillhead until we and our public health partners are completely satisfied it is safe to do so.

"I want to again apologise for the immense disruption this is causing. This should not have happened, and I promise we will fix this problem as soon as possible.

"Yesterday (Saturday) we advised around 14,500 properties in the Alston supply area they no longer need to boil their drinking water. This followed several water quality monitoring results this week confirming no cryptosporidium. I want to reassure customers that daily water quality monitoring will continue across Hillhead and Alston supply areas.

"As of last night, our team has successfully completed letterbox deliveries informing residents who are still subject to a boil water notice. We continue to urge customers who are unsure whether they are still affected by a boil water notice to check South West Water’s website, or to call our dedicated customer contact team today."

Mr Harris confirmed compensation payments have been increased to £215 and will be paid automatically where the company has direct debit details - or otherwise applied as a credit to the next water bill.

"We know the profound impact this is having on families," Mr Harris said. "Compensation has been increased to £215 - almost half the amount of an annual average bill - for those customers still subject to boil water advice in the Hillhead, upper Brixham and Kingswear areas.

"This payment will be made automatically where we have direct debit details or applied as a credit to their next water bill where we do not.

“We also know this situation is already having an impact on tourism ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend and stand ready to support our local traders and businesses. I urge affected businesses to contact our customer service team on 03332 343 293 so we can fast track any compensation claims.

“Our bottled water stations in Broadsands, Freshwater Quarry and Churston will remain open to customers across the Brixham area. We have handed out and delivered almost 480,000 bottles of water since the start of the incident, including direct deliveries to vulnerable customers and schools, hospitals and care homes.”

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