MP calls for water parasite outbreak compensation

Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall in Brixham
Conservative MP Anthony Mangnall said he would support local businesses in their quest to get compensation from the water company [BBC]

Customers of a water company in Devon should get a level of compensation they "deserve" following a parasite outbreak, an MP says.

South West Water (SWW) said compensation was increased to £215 for customers still subjected to boil water advice in Brixham on Sunday.

Conservative MP Anthony Mangnall, whose Totnes constituency covers Brixham, said the company was looking at compensation on a "case-by-case basis" for local businesses following an outbreak of cryptosporidium.

He said: "I am absolutely determined to see SWW pay Brixham town's businesses, the community and residents the money they deserve for this disastrous week."

He said: "I have been leafleting in the town to give businesses the details of how to get in touch with SWW."

Mr Mangnall said: "It has been quite staggering how quiet Brixham has felt.

He described the businesses as "resilient" during the outbreak, and added they had adapted quickly.

"I have set up a meeting this week between Brixham's Chamber of Commerce and SWW to discuss how this [compensation] is going to work," said Mr Mangnall.

'Challenging days'

Alex Foley, who owns the Guardhouse Cafe in Berry Head, said the past week had brought "challenging days".

He said: "Over the four or five days since this news broke, we've lost about £5,000 in turnover.

"But South West Water has been in touch with us today about the process of compensation."

SWW handing out water to residents
SWW said its bottled water stations were open between 07:00 and 21:00 BST [BBC]

David Harris, incident director at SWW, said compensation had been increased to £215 for about 2,500 of its customers still subject to boil water advice in the Hillhead, upper Brixham and Kingswear areas.

“We also know this situation is already having an impact on tourism ahead of the bank holiday weekend and stand ready to support our local traders and businesses," he said.

Mr Harris said the utility was "working 24 hours a day" to return all its customers to clean and safe water.

He said: “We are urgently investigating the damaged air valve on private land, which we believe to be the probable cause, and, following the draining and cleaning of Hillhead reservoir, we have now refilled the largest of the two tanks within the reservoir and we have isolated the second tank."

SWW said it had started flushing the wider Hillhead network to "eliminate any traces of cryptosporidium".

"We will not lift the boil water notice in Hillhead until we and our public health partners are completely satisfied it is safe to do so," Mr Harris added.

The bottled water stations in Broadsands, Freshwater Quarry and Churston remain open to customers across the Brixham area between 07:00 and 21:00 BST.

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