Lancashire residents pursue legal action over cryptosporidium contamination

Legal action is being taken against the water firm responsible for supplying contaminated tap water to Lancashire residents.
Milo with mum Carley Valente, who is being represented by Irwin MitchellMilo with mum Carley Valente, who is being represented by Irwin Mitchell
Milo with mum Carley Valente, who is being represented by Irwin Mitchell
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ONE YEAR ON: Mystery still surrounds Lancashire water bug scare

Blackpool mum Carley Valente is among a group of disgruntled customers suing United Utilities over the drinking water scandal in 2015.

The firm has already admitted a charge of supplying water unfit for human consumption – from July 30 to August 18, 2015 – after the cryptosporidium parasite was found at the Franklaw water treatment site in Caterall.

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Teaching assistant Ms Valente, 33, said her son Milo, who was three at the time, suffered from diarrhoea and weight loss after falling ill. He was diagnosed with cryptosporidium but, unaware of the contamination, she continued to give him tap water.

She said: “It was heartbreaking to see Milo suffer like he did.

“One of my biggest fears was Milo being upset and poorly, and when I had to endure this it was worse than I ever imagined. We just want answers for how it was allowed to happen in the first place.”

Legal firm Irwin Mitchell is representing a group of residents taking action against United Utilities after 700,000 people were said to be affected by the problems in 2015.

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Amandeep Dhillon, the firm’s public health specialist, said: “Protecting the general public from outbreaks like these should be the main priority for those involved.”

Residents were advised to boil tap water before drinking it from August 6, after the issue was discovered.

United Utilities said it would be inappropriate to comment until after the Franklaw Water Treatment Works sentencing hearing next month.

In June, the firm admitted one count of supplying water unfit for human consumption.

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More than 300,000 households in Lancashire were told to boil water during the crypto outbreak in August 2015.

Traces of the bug were found at Franklaw water treatment works at Catterall, near Garstang.

Billpayers later received compensation for the inconvenience and costs of boiling or buying water - around £50-£60 per household. When the Post previously asked United Utilities in a Freedom of Information request how many customers had sought compensation for crypto infections, they told us they had rejected 95 claims, settled 10 on an an ex-gratia basis and 10 were being investigated.