Global Agriculture

Water Supply Issues in Brixham Area

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24 May 2024, UK: A boil notice remains in place for around 2,500 properties in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear who are advised to continue to boil their drinking water before consuming it.

This comes after South West Water lifted the boil notice for the Alston supply area of Brixham covering 14,500 households over the weekend. The notice was initially put in place after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed it is investigating cases of cryptosporidium.

Rolling updates from South West Water include information on bottled water collection points for the public. Bottle stations remain open from 7am to 9pm in Broadsands, Freshwater Quarry, and Churston.

From Wednesday (22nd May), over 40 South West Water crews began delivering bottled water to properties across the boil water notice area. A drop in centre remains open in Brixham for customers with questions regarding compensation and support available to affected households.

South West Water’s community van is also back in Kingswear today (Thursday 23rd May) from 12-5:30pm, which can be found on Brixham Road off the B3205. The team will be able to help with any queries or concerns regarding the boil water notice.

The water company has confirmed a further £15 compensation to all customers – both households and businesses – who are issued a boil water notice for more than seven days. For household customers in the Hillhead area, compensation will increase by a further £50 on top of the £215 already provided. Household customers still under a boil notice will now receive £265 in total.

Those still impacted by the boil notice are advised to continue boiling tap water and allowing it to cool before drinking. This applies to water used for drinking, cooking, preparing food or brushing teeth. Boiled water can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. You may use normal tap water for washing, bathing and toilet flushing.

Ministers are receiving regular updates on the situation and meeting with senior representatives from South West Water and the local authority to ensure every step is taken to resolve the situation and return clean water supplies as soon as possible.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said:

The boil notice has been lifted for 14,500 properties in the Alston supply area, however I urge those in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear to continue to boil their water and follow health advice.

I continue to receive regular updates from South West Water who are working with the Drinking Water Inspectorate and UK Health Security Agency to rectify the problem. We need South West Water to resolve this issue and ensure clean water returns to the entire Brixham area.

I am also working with the local authority, MPs and other partners locally to ensure the local community is supported during this time.

A spokesperson for the Drinking Water Inspectorate said:

The Drinking Water Inspectorate has been informed of reports of illness affecting supplies in the Brixham, Devon area. South West Water are investigating these reports and are working with the relevant health authorities. The Inspectorate has been notified of the potential contamination of drinking water and is investigating the cause, extent, and actions of the company. 

Consumers should follow the company’s advice if they are within the affected area and should contact South West Water if they require further information.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

The Environment Agency is engaged locally with UK Health Security Agency and South West Water who are responding to cases of cryptosporidium that have been reported in Brixham, Devon. We urge residents to follow any advice given.

Dr Bayad Nozad, Consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA, said:

We advise people in the affected areas to follow the advice from South West Water and boil their drinking water and allow to cool before use.

For most people, cryptosporidium symptoms can be managed at home without needing medical advice and we are aware of further reports of illness above our confirmed numbers.

Please do not contact medical services to report cases unless you need urgent clinical care. If your symptoms last longer than 7 days, or if you experience more severe symptoms such as blood in your poo, please contact your doctor who may recommend taking a sample for testing.

Those with symptoms 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 the last episode of illness. This is really important to stop further spread of the illness from person to person.

We also advise that people wash their hands thoroughly when handling food and after using the toilet, to help prevent the spread of further infection.

Anyone with a diarrhoeal illness should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and if they have severe symptoms like bloody diarrhoea, they should contact NHS 111 or their GP surgery.

Symptoms include: watery diarrhoea, stomach pains, dehydration, weight loss and fever. Symptoms usually last for about two weeks but can be longer, especially in people with weak immune systems. Anyone can get cryptosporidiosis but it is most common in young children aged between 1 and 5 years, and most people will recover fully.

Further information:

  • The latest updates and advice can be found on South West Water’s website.
  • Public health advice on what cryptosporidium is and how can it be treated.
  • South West Water has announced it has increased its compensation for customers in Brixham in recognition of the impacts following the detection of cryptosporidium in the area.
  • For businesses impacted by the current boil water notice, South West Water have set up a dedicated line for retailers and businesses about the incident and to discuss impacts on their businesses. The number is 03332 343 293 and the line is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • Further information and advice on diarrhoea and vomiting.

Also Read: IARI Starts Sale of Imazethapyr Tolerant Basmati Rice Varieties

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