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Brixham boil water notice mostly lifted

Brixham Harbour (image courtesy: Guy Henderson)

2,500 properties are still advised to boil water

South West Water has reduced the number of customers impacted by its boil water notice in the Brixham area after its water quality monitoring results confirmed no cryptosporidium in its Alston supply area.

Properties in the Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear areas are still subject to a boil water notice.

The decision was made in consultation with the UK Health Security Agency and the local authority’s Environmental Health Department.

On Wednesday 15 May, South West Water issued a boil water notice to around 17,000 households and businesses in the Alston and Hillhead water supply areas, advising them not to use their tap water for drinking without boiling and cooling it first.

This was the result of finding cryptosporidium in the Hillhead supply area in the early hours of Wednesday morning. A boil water notice was also issued to properties in the Alston supply area at this time as a necessary precaution.

Seven separate tests have now been undertaken by specialists in the Alston water supply area, all of which have found no traces of cryptosporidium. A sample has also been independently analysed by a third-party laboratory yesterday, also confirming no contamination.

South West Water can confirm it is safe for around 14,500 households in the Alston supply area to use their tap water as normal.

South West Water is still advising around 2,500 properties in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear to continue to boil their drinking water before consuming it.

A damaged valve on private land in the Hillhead supply area has been identified as the possible cause of contamination, which has since been isolated from the network and repaired. South West Water is urgently investigating how this happened while working to rule out any other possible sources of contamination elsewhere in the network.

Ground teams are working hard over the weekend and into next week to fully resolve the issue. South West Water will only lift the remaining boil water notice when it is entirely satisfied it is safe to do so. Regular testing will also continue throughout the network.


Laura Flowerdew, South West Water’s Chief Customer and Digital Officer, said:

“Following rigorous testing this week, it is now safe to lift the boil water notice in the Alston water supply area. This decision has been supported by the government’s public health experts and the local authority’s environmental health department.

“This situation has caused an immense amount of disruption, distress and anxiety. We are truly sorry this has happened. The public rightly expect a safe, clean and reliable source of drinking water and on this occasion, we have fallen significantly short of expectations.

“We will not stop working until this has been fully resolved.

“With the boil water notice still in place in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear, we are urging customers who are unsure if they are still affected to visit the ‘postcode checker’ on our website or call us so we can check for them.”

South West Water has now set up a dedicated helpline for business customers to help them understand how it can support them, including questions relating to any compensation. Any claims will be fast tracked and reviewed on an individual basis. Businesses are urged to call 03332 343 293. This line is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


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