The boil water scare which has blighted large parts of Lancashire for more than three weeks has been lifted for 80,000 homes in parts of Preston, Chorley and Blackpool.
United Utilities announced the news at 6pm today after checks revealed the water supply to just over a quarter of the affected households and businesses has been declared free of cryptosporidium.
The company urged residents to check whether their postcode has been given the all-clear by visiting the United Utilities website at http://www.unitedutilities.com/lancashire-boiled-water.aspx
Householders in those areas can resume using tap water “with immediate effect” said a company statement.
But consumers in the remaining 220,000 homes and business must continue to boil their water.
United Utilities is hoping to announce a total all-clear within the next week, with most consumers back on by the end of this week.
“We recognise the ongoing inconvenience and we are truly sorry,” said Gary Dixon, customer services director. “We are doing everything in our power to get supplies back to normal as quickly as possible.”
A UU spokesman added: “We always said that we would lift the boil water notice as soon as we were able to in those areas where there was no longer a risk to public health.
“We will continue our work to remove the bug from all parts of the Lancashire network and will lift the boil water notice in further areas as and when we are able to do so.”
The company said it would write to customers once their water is safe to drink.
The firm added: “We all want things back to normal as quickly as possible and we’re continuing to liaise closely with the Drinking Water Inspectorate and Public Health England, and meeting with them regularly to review the very latest test results.
“We’re confident that the work we are doing is helping water quality to return to normal as quickly as possible.
“We will be compensating all homes and businesses who have been affected by the boil water advice notice.”
Andy White, senior policy manager at watchdog The Consumer Council for Water, said: “We are pleased that drinking water supplies should begin to return to normal over the coming days. It has been a very frustrating three weeks for customers but safeguarding public health should always be the top priority.
“Once the boil water notice has been lifted we expect the company to honour its pledge to compensate all affected customers. This should be done swiftly and without hassle for customers. We are in discussions with United Utilities to ensure its approach to compensation is fair and reflects the significant disruption that has been caused to customers.”
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle added: “I am glad that United Utilities are now in a position to safely begin lifting the boil notice.
“I appreciate that public safety is paramount and that the company took the action it felt necessary, I thank those front line employees who have been working to resolve fix this problem over the last four weeks. Sadly, some vulnerable people and institutions have found the last few weeks a very difficult time and I have had to intervene for specific constituents.
“In due course I expect United Utilities to give a full account of what went wrong and to hear how it will be prevented in the future. Constituents and business are out of pocket and I look forward to hearing from how United Utilities will be compensating customers.”
Seema Kennedy, South Ribble MP, added: “I am relieved that for a small number of my constituents the notice will no longer be in place, however this will unfortunately not be the case for all.
“I will continue to pay close attention to the issue until it is fully resolved.”
Restrictions lifted in these areas - CHECK your postcode online at unitedutilities.com or ring 0800 912 7241.
PR1 0 Penwortham
PR1 1 city centre
PR1 2 city centre
PR1 3 Avenham
PR1 4 New Hall Lane
PR1 5 Ribbleton
PR1 6 Deepdale
PR1 7 Aqueduct Street area
PR1 8 Broadgate
PR1 9 Kingsfold
PR2 1 Fulwood
PR2 2 Ashton-on-Ribble
PR2 6 Ribbleton
PR7 2 Chorley
PR7 3 Chorley
PR7 4 Charnock Richard, Coppull and Adlington
• For all our previous coverage on the water contamination situation in Lancashire visit the links below: