UU to be prosecuted over crypto outbreak
United Utilities (UU) is facing charges over a cryptosporidium outbreak which affected approximately 700,000 people in Lancashire in 2015. The company has today (June 16) received a summons from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), and a full court case will be heard, commencing June 30.
UU said it has taken a “full and open role” with DWI during their investigation and “complied with all requests for information”. However, the company has refused to comment further until after the case has been concluded.
The DWI said whilst it cannot share information or discuss the prosecution prior to the conclusion of the court case, details of the case “will be made available on request” at the conclusion of the court session.
On August 6, 2015, UU began advising customers in Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and the Fylde coast to boil their water for all drinking and eating purposes after traces of cryptosporidium were detected during routine tests at Franklaw water treatment works. UU flushed through 2,500 miles of pipes and storage reservoirs to get rid of the cryptosporidium parasite, and deployed portable ultraviolet ray equipment kill off remaining traces.
The incident, which lasted 30 days, cost the company about £25M in compensation pay-outs to more than 300,000 customers.
There was widespread speculation in the media that a dead pheasant caught in UU’s pipe network was the source of the outbreak. However, this has not been officially recognised by DWI.
Responding to a freedom of information request from Utility Week recently, the DWI said it was withholding the source of the contamination as “release of interim findings before the completion of an investigation would be likely to be prejudicial to the course of justice”.
A version of this article first appeared on Utility Week.
- Welsh Water lab brings testing home Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) is celebrating the opening of its new £10.4M water testing laboratory today, which will bring... Read More >
- UU invests £40M to reduce phosphorous in Lake Windermere United Utilities (UU) is investing £40M as part of a project to improve water quality in Lake Windermere. Read More >
- UU issues boil water notice following Buckton Castle WTW technical fault A boil water notice remains in place for thousands of properties in parts of Tameside and Saddleworth as United Utilities... Read More >
- Interview: Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL “The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that.” Read More >
- Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market? With a £2.5BN new market for non-domestic water retail to open in England in April, joint ventures, incumbents and new... Read More >
- Water Industry Procurement: could Brexit provide a fresh start? Could Brexit lead to a re-examination of the procurement rules which govern the water industry and other infrastructure... Read More >
- Industry View: Let's not drop the ball after PR19 There must be better alignment between PR19 strategic plans and actual delivery plans if water companies are to get full... Read More >
- Close-Up: From Sludge to Bioresources As a separate price control for sludge takes shape for PR19, who will be the winners from the new market for bioresources? Read More >