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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.
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.
- Watch Rob Smith's report:
United Utilities has pleaded guilty to supplying water that was unfit for human consumption to thousands of homes in Lancashire in 2015.Read the full story ›
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 plead guilty to supplying water unfit for human consumption - containing Cryptosporidium - to homes in Lancashire in 2015.
The water company, United Utilities, could face unlimited fine. Lawyer for Drinking Water Inspectorate says sentencing requires higher court
2 other charges relating to disinfection and the treatment process of water, have been dropped after United Utilities' guilty plea.
District Judge Jane Goodwin, sitting at Preston Magistrates, is deciding whether to sentence/fine the company or pass it to a higher court.
Judge rules fine, to be levied against United Utilities over cryptosporidium contamination, will be decided by a Crown Court at later date.
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.
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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.”