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United Utilities faces sentence for supplying water unfit for human consumption to 700,000 consumers

Water unfit for human consumption supplied to more than half a million people Credit: PA

Water company United Utilities is expected to be sentenced later after pleading guilty to supplying water unfit for human consumption.

700,000 people in Lancashire were affected by drinking water which contained the parasite cryptosporidium in August 2015. Those affected had to boil their tap water for three weeks.

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WATCH: United Utilities admits guilt over contaminated water

United Utilities has pleaded guilty over supplying contaminated water to more than 700,000 homes in Lancashire.

For three weeks customers had to boil water or buy it in bottles after a parasite was found at a water treatment works.

It was a particular problem for care homes looking after elderly residents.

Today, at Preston Magistrates court, the company admitted its guilt.

United Utilities admits supplying water unfit for human consumption

United Utilities has pleaded guilty to supplying water that was unfit for human consumption to homes in Lancashire in 2015. The firm could face an unlimited fine.

United Utilities to be prosecuted over contaminating water

United Utilities are to be prosecuted over water contamination from its Franklaw Treatment works in 2015.

A spokesperson said:

We have received a summons from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) and a full court case will now be heard in due course.

United Utilities has taken a full and open role with DWI during their investigation and complied with all requests for information.

It would be inappropriate to comment further now until after the case has been concluded.

– United Utilities

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Water complaints shoot up against United Utilities

Water complaints shoot up 13.5 per cent against United Utilies Credit: PA

There's been a sharp increase in complaints against United Utilities - the worst increase against a water company in the north of England.

United Utilities experienced the largest increase in the North – up 13.5 per cent.

One of the reasons was due to a 'boil water notice' which affected more than 320,000 homes and business in West Lancashire last August 2015. The company took action to safeguard public health after traces of the parasite cryptosporidium were detected in water samples taken from supplies at a treatment works.

It’s disappointing that almost half of the water companies who saw an increase in complaints were based in the north of England.”

“We cannot allow the good progress that most of these companies have made in recent years to be undermined. That’s why we’ll be working closely with each company to help them address the issues this report highlights.”

– Robert Light, Northern Chair for the Consumer Council for Water

United Utilities workers go on strike

United Utilities workers are staging strike action Credit: PA

Workers at United Utilities in the North West have gone on strike in a long-running dispute over pensions. The 27-hour walk-out began at 5 a.m. on Friday.

The GMB union will be mounting picket lines at 18 water and waste treatment plants during the stoppage.

The union says a majority of members voted in a consultative ballot to reject the company’s plan for all staff to move from a defined benefit final salary pension to a defined contribution pension scheme from April 2016.

"We have agreed a process should there be a major incident such as the recent Cumbrian floods or other emergencies impacting on the life and limb of customers during the course of industrial action."

– Eddie Parker, GMB regional officer

United Utilities says it has been consulting with four unions over a proposal to close the defined benefit pension scheme affecting some employees. The company says that proposal has been taken off the table while an assessment is made of the cost of keeping the scheme going, and it will continue to try to resolve differences by talking.

"We are disappointed that GMB has decided to ask its members to talk out for a day, but we have plans in place to make sure that our services to customers are not affected by what is action by only a very small number of employees."

– United Utilities

Video report: Man from Preston donates water compensation to charity

Credit: ITV NEWS

A man from preston who was part of the 300,000 households affected by the boil water notice across Lancashire has decided to donate his compensation money to those in need.

He's decided to create a donation pageto the charity Water Aid and is encouraging others in his situation to do the same.

Chris Cunningham has this report:

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