Thames water tests for vomiting insect pollution as families fall ill | Water

Thames Water has sent water samples for laboratory testing after dozens of people reported feeling unwell with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea in south-east London.

Earlier this month, contaminated drinking water caused more than 100 cases of a waterborne illness in Devon, with people told to boil their water for fear of contamination.

After cryptosporidium, a disease that can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, was detected in the water supply in the Brixham area of ​​Devon 10 days ago, South West Water advised 17,000 households and businesses not to use tap water. tap to drink without boiling and cooling it first.

Now residents of Beckenham have reported that they have been affected by a stomach virus that is causing them to vomit and diarrhea for days. They included a four-year-old boy who suffered from vomiting for days and an adult woman who was so unwell that she went to hospital with stomach pain, vomiting and dehydration.

Katie Cox, a television producer who lives in the area, said: “Two weeks ago I felt unwell with what I thought was a stomach bug.

It was a good week before I could eat properly again. “Since then, the South West Water contamination came to light and I became worried that maybe there was something in our water.”

Entire families have reported feeling unwell and fear it may be due to an insect in the water. After reporting the problem to Thames Water, people who were unwell said technicians came to take samples of their tap water. Thames Water confirmed its technicians collected samples, which were sent for laboratory analysis.

A spokesperson said: “We take the quality of our water very seriously – it is the highest quality drinking water in the world – and since 2010, over 99.95% of tests carried out on customers’ taps met the standard. required by UK and European legislation. Each year we perform more than 500,000 tests, taking samples from source to tap. “Customers can find information about their water supply by entering their postcode on our website.”

Thames Water has not carried out specific testing at any nearby treatment plant, but a company source said it carries out general monitoring from the wider water supply area as part of a statutory monitoring programme, and does not There have been recent failures at Central Sydenham. water area.

Labor shadow environment secretary Steve Reed said: “Our water industry is broken. “Just a few days ago a parasite outbreak was making people sick in Devon, now (Beckenham’s) drinking water may not be safe to drink.”

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In Devon, South West Water said on May 14 that the water was safe to drink before reversing this advice a day later. The company said testing data showed that the treated water leaving its treatment plants was not contaminated, but additional testing overnight found small traces of cryptosporidium.

In Brixham, 2,500 properties remain under boil tap water notices while the system continues to be flushed, and those properties have not been given a date for when the water will be safe to drink again.

David Harris, South West Water’s drought and resilience director, said: “We will not be lifting the boil water notice until it is safe to do so.”

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