South West issues boil notice after parasites found in drinking water

South West Water has issued a boil water notice for customers in parts of Devon after traces of the parasite cryptosporidium were discovered in drinking water.

Drinking water can become contaminated due to various reasons with cryptosporidium, which can cause sickness and diarrhoea if consumed.

Initial tests conducted on Tuesday (14 May) showed that the treated water leaving South West’s treatment works was not contaminated, but further tests taken overnight and the following morning revealed traces of the parasite.

Customers in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham have been advised to boil their drinking water before consuming, including when preparing or cooking food, or cleaning teeth.

Water can still be used as normal however for washing, bathing and flushing the toilet.

South West said: “We are working with public health partners to urgently investigate the source.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will continue to keep customers and businesses updated. Bottled water stations will be set up in the affected areas as soon as possible.

“For those customers registered for Priority Services we will be delivering bottled water to your address. For all customers who have been issued with the Boil Water Notice you will receive an automatic payment of £15, as part of our Customer Promise when services are interrupted.”