News

Cryptosporidium Found At Bristol Water Treatment Works

Water supplier Bristol Water has announced that cryptosporidium – a parasite that can cause gastric illnesses – has been found at its water treatment works in Clevedon in North Somerset. As a result, people in the BS21 postcode area, as well as some in the BS49 area, were asked to boil water before use. Some particularly vulnerable customers were provided with bottled water to tide them over.

 

Local people have also been warned not to eat any food prepared using tap water and to avoid going swimming for a couple of days, the BBC reports. Affected customers will be paid compensation of £10 because of the inconvenience.

 

Cryptosporidium, also known as crypto, can cause serious diarrhoea. It can affect anyone but especially those with weakened immune systems, and in these instances it can be severe and even life-threatening. Other symptoms you have this parasite include dehydration, vomiting, nausea, weight loss and fever, but it can be managed without treatment by drinking lots of fluids.

 

Health protection consultant for Public Health England South West Thara Raj was quoted by the news source as saying: “We would remind people in the affected areas to follow the advice from Bristol Water and boil their drinking water and allow it to cool before use.

 

“The levels of cryptosporidium detected in the water supply is low and the advice to boil the water is a precaution. If people feel unwell or experience symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting they should contact NHS 111. If your symptoms become severe, you should contact your GP.”

 

Crypto is usually found in lakes, rivers and ponds where water may have come into contact with animal waste or sewage. Boreholes and wells,  other private water sources, can also pose a risk so if you do opt to have an off grid water supply of this kind you do need to make sure that your water filtration system is effective and appropriate.

 

But bear in mind if you do want to go off grid that water treatment by itself may not be enough to eliminate the risk of an outbreak. You also need to make sure that you monitor your water regularly to keep the supply free from crypto.

 

As you can see, even the biggest water suppliers can find themselves in hot water when it comes to crypto. And it’s not just Bristol Water, either. In July last year, United Utilities admitted supplying water unfit for human consumption, with up to 700,000 people in Lancashire unable to drink tap water for three weeks.

 

A prosecution case against the supplier was brought by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, with counsel Richard Barwell asking for the case to be sent to crown court and saying that it’s likely the firm would receive a substantial fine because of the outbreak.

 

A United Utilities statement said that a full programme of repair work had already been carried out to protect future water supplies.