Seaside town still refusing tap water after parasite horror | UK | News

Residents who have had a boiled water notice lifted after two months say they still fear the parasite – and ‘have lost trust in their tap water.’

South West Water say the parasite in Brixham, Devon, has been ‘irradiated’ and the final 674 properties affected were told they can now safely drink from the taps again.  

Around 16,000 properties were initially told not to consume water in May after cryptosporidium – which causes diarrhoea and vomiting – was found in the water supply.

Despite major disruption and some relief among locals, others fear it is still not safe. And said they need further ‘reassurance’ after they feel they have been lied to.

Some say they have ‘lost their trust in their tap water’ and are calling for an independent advisor to come and test the water in their homes.   

One local said: “The tests that have been showing cryptosporidium in our water have suddenly disappeared. Now SWW have lifted the boil water notice.

“We need an independent to come and test our water at our homes. Maybe one home on every street that’s been declared safe to drink. After all the lies we’ve been subjected to, we need this.

“Some of us have serious health issues that will be greatly affected by getting ill again. We need some reassurance here”.

Another local added: “We’ve been lied to considerably and you can’t just switch trust back on. I don’t think anybody believes the water is suddenly fit to drink especially when the latest graph shows a rise in cryptosporidium.”

Another local said: “Many of us have fundamentally lost trust in our tap water; something that maybe we shouldn’t take for granted, but we always have been able to in the UK.  The latest posts from SWW have done the very opposite to winning that trust back. SWW’s repeated statement that our health remains their top priority has started to ring very hollow now.”

The restrictions were imposed in May and Tanya Matthews was one of the residents first affected by the incident.  She had previously blasted South West Water for not working faster to resolve the issue.

“I was trying to tell people: don’t drink it, it’s not safe. But people responded by saying that South West Water have said it’s fine, so we’re going to carry on drinking it.

“On Wednesday morning, they found out that there was cryptosporidium – but didn’t inform the public until that afternoon.

“I don’t know why they didn’t, as a precaution, on the Monday or the Tuesday put a boil water notice on until they found out whether it was the water or not.

“I had severe diarrhoea, nausea all the time, horrendous stomach cramps and I felt lightheaded.”

According to South West Water, the remaining 674 affected properties in Higher Brixham, Southdown, Upton Manor and St Mary’s are now all safe.  David Harris, South West Water’s Incident Director, said: “The last two months have had a significant impact on the people and businesses of Brixham and for that we are truly sorry.

“Nothing matters more than the health and safety of our customers and we are pleased we can now reassure everyone that their water supply meets the high standards they rightly expect.”

The firm said that since this event began, over 1,000 South West Water network technicians, engineers, water quality scientists and contractors have worked day and night to fix this issue and return the water supply to normal.

The source of the contamination a damaged air valve casing on private land – was identified, removed and replaced and an extensive programme of work was undertaken to clear the network of cryptosporidium. 

In total, the company has given out over a million bottles of water from its three bottled water collection stations and hand-delivered 390,123 bottles of water directly to customers’ homes.  With all customers now reportedly able to drink their water as normal, the bottled water stations and home deliveries will now stop

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