Hundreds left without water for five days over mystery contamination on Cambridge's Marleigh estate

  • People have been left feeling sick after drinking the contaminated water, as Elodie Harper reports for ITV News Anglia

More than 300 homeowners have been left without drinking water for five days over a mystery contamination that has prompted a 'Do Not Use' warning.

Independent Water Networks (IWN) warned residents on the Marleigh development near Cambridge not to consume or bathe in their tap water after an incident on Thursday.

The firm said the measures were precautionary and have been supplying bottled water to affected residents on the 320-home estate - but have still not been able to say what had caused the contamination.

The organisation's advice to residents remains not to use the water for anything other than flushing toilets until further notice.

A water tanker delivers fresh water supplies to the residents of the Marleigh development in Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

IWN also urged locals to throw away any ice cubes that had been made and not to use the water to wash-up or make baby formula.

Resident Peng Wang said he and his wife felt unwell after consuming it, and noticed a strong smell similar to petrol.

Peng Wang (right) said the water supply smelt and tasted odd and he and his wife felt unwell after consuming it. Credit: ITV News Anglia

He said: "Some people in the community spoke about a taste change in the water, so I tried it.

"Because we use filtered water we didn't notice that but before it was filtered we clearly noticed that it had a petrol smell; it was pretty strong.

"That evening we still did the cooking with the filtered water and I felt a bit uncomfortable afterwards.

"Both me and my wife had some tummy pain so the next day we decided not to do any cooking with the water, and the water company came with bottled water."

The water incident has also affected the local school, Marleigh Primary Academy, which was closed on Friday and again on Monday. Staff urged parents to check their emails for further updates.

Marleigh Primary Academy has closed to pupils after an incident with the water supply on the Marleigh development in Cambridge Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ben Roberts, who has a child at the school, said: "Trying to juggle a child when me and my wife are working full-time is the biggest impact.

"The map [which IWN released] included our street on the affected area and it took us a while to get through to someone who told us our water wasn't actually affected.

"For a few hours we were worried as our children had been drinking the water, but fortunately our water was fine."

IWN did not say what tests were being carried out but said some tests took longer to do than others.

John Trounson, the firm's group managing director, said: "We have been taking tests on the Marleigh estate since last Thursday.

"We have been feeding those results back to the laboratory so that we can have discussions with the UK Health Authority Agency.

"At the current time the agency is not comfortable that we can move away from a 'Do Not Use' notice but that's an ongoing discussion we are having and as soon as we can do so we will notify the residents."

IWN's website is offering further guidance to affected residents.

It warns them that water filters, purification tablets or using the hot tap are not safe alternatives while the water supply is out of action.

The organisation is also offering alternative accommodation at "reasonable costs" up to the value of £100 per household per night to enable customer access to safe and hot water.

IWN said it would inform customers when the water supply was safe to use again via text, email or through a leaflet through their letterbox.

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