Home news United Utilities 'issued unclear advice' over water bug contamination

United Utilities 'issued unclear advice' over water bug contamination


A water firm’s “unclear” advice to up to 700,000 customers when their tap water became contaminated “caused uncertainty”, a report has concluded.Animal waste contaminated water with cryptosporidium at Franklaw treatment works near Preston in 2015.United Utilities (UU) later admitted supplying water unfit for humans.The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said the company’s advice during the outbreak left consumers “confused” and must be reviewed.The contamination, which was traced to underground storage tanks in Barnacre, left households and other premises in Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston, South Ribble and Wyre without drinkable tap water for three weeks.The water firm was fined £300,000 after admitting responsibility for the outbreak at Preston Crown Court on 11 October.

The DWI’s report stated UU’s advice did not specify “who it applied to”, was not clear on who qualified for bottled water and lacked clarity to schools, swimming pools and pet owners.Recommending a full review of emergency and contingency plans and a programme of work to ensure supply systems and water-retaining areas were properly maintained, the DWI stated its findings should be shared with other water companies to “ensure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities”.The report said households should be given written advice within 24 hours of an emergency and access to alternative sources of supply “to reduce the duration that any such advice might be in place”.It also recommended the use of a temporary treatment plant during any such outbreak and a review of its cryptosporidium sampling equipment so it can provide “immediate meaningful” investigations.A UU spokesman said it had “put technology and processes in place to guard against a repeat of this type of incident”.He added that UU had been “implementing many of the recommendations” since 2015 and had shared its learning “across the water industry”.
Source: BBC Lancashire