South West Water latest on cryptosporidium clean up operation

South West Water says it has identified and fixed the valve thought to have contributed to the cryptosporidium outbreak in Brixham. It is believed a valve on private farm land became damaged and the drinking water contaminated with animal faeces

SWW drought and resilience director David Harris says that valve has now been repaired and work is underway to drain and clean the water tank at Hillhead reservoir, where tests confirmed the presence of the parasite earlier this week.

Mr Harris said: "Our overriding priority must be the health and safety of our customers. Over the past four days, we have been working tirelessly to identify and resolve this issue. We are deeply sorry for the impact this disruption is having on daily lives.

READ MORE: Cryptosporidium: Everything we know about Brixham outbreak so far

“We have set up water collection points at Fresh Water Quarry Public Car Park (TQ5 8BA), Broadsands Car Park (TQ4 6HX) and Churston Car Boot Sale Field (TQ4 7BQ), which are open over the weekend, and our ground teams have been working hard, delivering over 386,000 bottles of water so far.

“To support customers while we continue to resolve this issue, our compensation payment has been increased to £115. This payment will be made automatically where we have direct debit details or applied as a credit to customers’ next water bill where we do not. Customers do not need to take any action.

“As part of our ongoing investigation, a damaged valve on private land has been identified as the possible cause, which has since been isolated from the network and repaired. As you would expect, we are urgently investigating how this happened, while working to rule out any other possible sources of contamination elsewhere in the network.

“The water tank at Hillhead reservoir, where tests confirmed the presence of cryptosporidium earlier this week, was drained overnight and will be thoroughly cleaned today. Once complete, we will start refilling the water tank later today. Officials from the Drinking Water Inspectorate are also on site to monitor progress, and daily testing continues to take place at points throughout our network.

“We want to reassure customers and businesses that we will only lift the boil water notices when it is absolutely safe to do so.”

Latest figures published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on May 17 confirmed cases had risen to 46 with more than a further 100 having reported similar symptoms.