Brixham: Boil water notice lifted in Devon town eight weeks after outbreak of parasite in water network

A "boil water" notice has been lifted for the last remaining residents in the Devon town of Brixham, eight weeks after it was hit by a parasite outbreak. 

About 17,000 households were told to boil their drinking water by South West Water (SWW) back on 15 May, after the outbreak of cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes sickness and diarrhoea.

More than 50 people were confirmed to have had the illness by UK Health Security Agency, which is believed to have been caused by cattle manure getting into the company’s network through a damaged air valve in a farmer's field.

What is cryptosporidium?

After nearly two months in force - 54 days to be precise - SWW announced on Monday that the last 2,500 homes affected by the boil notice are now able to safely use their tap water.

"The notice has now been lifted for customers in the Higher Brixham, Southdown, Upton Manor and St Mary's supply zones," the company said on X.

"Following eight weeks of intensive interventions, enhanced sampling and monitoring together with working alongside public health partners - the full network in the Brixham area has now returned to normal and all customers, business and visitors can drink their tap water, safely."

It said a "triple layer of protection" is also now in place at their tanks to provide additional barriers and ensure water is safe to drink.

Designated bottled water stations set up days after the outbreak of the water bourne disease will also close from 9pm Monday evening, SWW said.

The water company apologised for the disruption and to those who had fallen ill, adding: "Nothing has mattered more to us than the health and safety of our customers and we are pleased we can now reassure you that your water supply meets the high standards you rightly expect."

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In a statement on 16 May, SWW chief executive Susan Davy said affected customers would be compensated £115 as a result of the issue.

Despite the contamination crisis, Pennon Group, the parent company of South West Water (SWW), which supplies the area and has apologised for the outbreak, announced an 8.6% increase in underlying operating profits to £166.3m.