United Utilities gives update as Thames Water tests samples after families in south fall ill

United Utilities has issued an update as another water supplier is testing samples after families report falling ill.

Thames Water has sent samples of water for lab testing after dozens of people reported becoming unwell with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea in south-east London, according to reports today from the Observer. Earlier this May, unsafe drinking water led to more than 100 cases of a waterborne disease down in Devon, with people asked to boil water over contamination concerns.

United Utilities, the water supplier for the north west, confirmed that there are 'no issues' with the tap water supply from the company. United Utilities has encouraged households in the region to use their water as usual.

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A United Utilities spokesperson said: “There are no issues with the tap water supply. You may have seen news reports about a stomach bug in another part of the UK. Tap water supplies here in the north west are continuously monitored and we can confirm that all customers can continue to use their water supply as normal.”

As of May 20, two people had been left hospitalised following a parasite outbreak in a seaside town this month causing sickness and stomach pains, the Environment Secretary revealed. There have been numerous confirmed cases of cryptosporidium, a waterborne disease which can cause unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting, in the Brixham area of Devon, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

According to the government, 16,000 households and businesses in Brixham, supplied by South West Water (SWW), were initially told not to use their tap water for drinking without boiling and cooling it first.

Steve Barclay told MPs the number of cases in the area could continue to rise due to symptoms taking up to 10 days to emerge.

A new South West Water map shows the area believed to be affected by an outbreak of Cryptosporidium
A South West Water map shows the area believed to be affected by an outbreak of cryptosporidium -Credit:South West Water

SWW said it is investigating the cause and that control measures were put in place, after confirming it had detected 'small traces' of the organism in the water supply in the area. The number of homes which the “boil water” notice applies to has since reduced by 85 per cent, but SWW said this would remain “until we and our public health partners are completely satisfied it is safe to do so”.

Now, residents in Beckenham in south-west London have reported being struck by a stomach bug which is causing days of vomiting and diarrhoea. They include a four-year-old boy suffering days of vomiting, and an adult woman who was so unwell she went to hospital with stomach pain, vomiting and dehydration, according to the Observer.

Whole families have reported becoming unwell, and fear it may be caused by a bug in the water.

Thames Water said: “Our technicians collected samples from a property in the area on Tuesday 22 May following customers contacting the business. Initial on site testing carried out by our accredited technician did not indicate an aesthetic issue with the water, further samples were also collected for laboratory analysis and results showed no concerns.

“Customers can find information about their water supply by inputting their postcode on our website. Should anyone be concerned about their tap water, we’d encourage them to contact us.”