Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 10:16 UK

Residents urged to boil tap water


Dwr Cymru urges more than 5,000 people to boil their water after river water qualtity deteriorated

Almost 5,000 people in Gwynedd are being asked to boil their drinking water for the next 48 to 72 hours after heavy rainfall affected its quality.

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water say that Penybont water treatment works was shut down for around 24 hours on Saturday when the river water quality deteriorated.

Test results received now indicate the presence of some cryptosporidium parasites in the water.

People in Tywyn, Aberdyfi, Bryncrug, Rhyd-yr-Onen and Brynglas are affected.

Cryptosporidium is a tiny parasite found in humans and animals and can cause temporary diarrhoea.

Boiling water will kill the cryptosporidium oocysts and ensures it is safe to drink and cook with.

Tap water in the area is supplied by the company's Penybont water treatment works.

It takes water and puts it through a two stage cleaning process, including UV treatment to protect against the risk of illness that might be caused by cryptosporidium.

Boiling the water will kill the bug. You do not have to boil it for 10 to 15 minutes. Just make sure you bring it to the boil
Tim Masters, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water said the water treatment works was restarted on Sunday morning to ensure that tap water supplies to Tywyn and Aberdyfi were not interrupted.

But river water quality had still not returned to normal and the UV treatment stage was not operational for around eight hours.

Tim Masters, head of water quality at Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, said results from samples taken from the water showed levels of cryptosporidium that were higher than what would normally be seen in the supply.

"We felt it was sensible as a precautionary measure to advise customers in the area to boil their water for the next 48 to 72 hours," he said.

"Boiling the water will kill the bug. You do not have to boil it for 10 to 15 minutes. Just make sure you bring it to the boil.

"Hopefully we will be able to tell people everything is fine by Thursday or possibly Friday.

Unfit water

"We need to give time for the water that did not receive the ultra violet treatment to pass through the supply. We need to do some checks to ensure the cryptosporidium parasite levels are much lower or hopefully not present at all."

Mr Masters added that letters explaining the situation should have been sent out to all customers affected. They should continue to boil water until they get another letter informing them to stop by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, he said.

"We will also use the media to tell people that everything is fine," he said.

The company was fined 60,000 and ordered to pay 69,000 costs after it admitted supplying unfit water that left hundreds ill in north Wales in November 2005.

In total, 231 people who drank water from a Snowdonia reservoir suffered from sickness after the outbreak of the cryptosporidium bug at the Llyn Cwellyn reservoir at Rhyd-ddu, which serves 70,000 homes in parts of Gwynedd and Anglesey.

If anyone has any concerns about their supply they can call the operational helpline on 0800 052 0130.

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