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Lancashire boil water notice: 300,000 homes still boiling tap water after Cryptosporidium outbreak

Credit: ITV Granada

More than 300,000 homes in Lancashire are still having to boil their tap water more than two weeks after the outbreak of the parasitic bug Cryptosporidium.

Water firm United Utilities said it was a 'step closer' to removing the boil water notice as it installed ultraviolet (UV) rigs across its network to speed the flushing process and kill any remaining traces of the bug.

But the company, facing a mounting compensation bill to affected householders and businesses, said it still could not be clear when it will able to give the go-ahead for people to use unboiled water for drinking, food preparation and brushing teeth.

The affected area covers a large swathe of Lancashire, including Preston, Blackpool and the Fylde coast.

Eight UV rigs are being installed around the county where the rays will attach to pipes and kill off the bug which is said to be at "very low levels".

Customer services manager Gary Dixon said earlier:

"Nobody wants this to go on and that is the company as well. We fully sympathise with the impact that this is having on our customers but we are doing everything that we possibly can to make this problem go away."

"Putting this UV equipment in means that we are a step closer towards being able to lift that boil water notice. Once we get all this UV equipment plumbed in and working we will then have a better view and be able to accurately forecast when we will be able to lift the notice."

"But until we get all this commissioned and switched on and working, and we get samples that say the water is clear and safe to drink, we cannot specify the time that this is going to be on for."

– Gary Dixon, customer services manager for United Utilities

The source of the outbreak on August 6 has been identified as the Franklaw water treatment plant in Preston.

Cryptosporidium is less than a 10th of the thickness of a human hair and the infection with the parasite can cause diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

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