Water crisis compo ‘almost completed’

Water chiefs are in for a grilling

Water chiefs are in for a grilling

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Water chiefs say almost all compensation cases from the summer cryptosporidium crisis in Lancashire have now been paid out.

But United Utilities admits a “minority” of business claims have still not been settled 10 weeks after supplies returned to normal.

The company, which is still waiting to hear if it is to be fined for the month-long contamination, has blamed the businesses for not submitting adequate information to have their cases resolved.

United Utilities had originally hoped to send out all compensation payments by the end of September.

A spokesman said the majority had been paid. And he explained: “This includes all automatic payments made to domestic and business customers, and the majority of business claims have also been settled.”

But outstanding claims were “awaiting more paperwork or information from the businesses to allow it to process the payments”. The contamination, which was discovered on August 6 and affected the Fylde Coast, left more than 300,000 households and businesses having to boil all their drinking water.

It was three weeks before some parts of the network were declared safe and a full 30 days before all supplies were returned to normal, a crisis which cost United Utilities £25m. Compensation payments of between £50 and £60 per household went out almost immediately. But businesses had to submit individual claims based on how much the contamination had cost them. United Utilities could now be subject to a parliamentary inquiry as well as an ongoing investigation from the Drinking Water Inspectorate, which could result in a fine.

More than three months after the contamination was first discovered by the company’s scientists the DWI has admitted it is still not in a position to release details of the inquiry, which has centred largely on the Franklaw Treatment Plant near Garstang.