More than 30,000 consumers in Lancashire need to boil their water

Food safety lawyer Tina Patel is calling on water company United Utilities to do as much as possible to inform consumers about the presence of microbial parasite cryptosporidium which has been found in the company’s Franklaw water treatment works outside Preston.

The presence of the parasite means that consumers should boil drinking water until at least next week to prevent the onset of gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal cramps and diarrohoea.

The cryptosporidium parasite does not usually cause long-term health problems for healthy adults, but for the very young, elderly, of for people with compromised immune systems a bout of illness caused by the bug can leave them with serious health problems.

While information about the outbreak is now being reported on local television channels some residents in the Blackpool and Preston area may have drunk the water before realising that it was infected.

United Utilities has said that it was carrying out investigations into how the water became contaminated at the treatment works, and that traces of the parasite were reducing.

Consumers are being advised to boil their drinking water, or to buy bottled water although supplies in the area are running low.

Food safety lawyer Tina Patel said:

“Consumers have the right to expect that their drinking water is safe to use, and that if water does become contaminated, that their local water company informs them as soon as possible.”