Cryptosporidium Found in Catterick Water Supply

Cryptosporidium illness warning with contaminated water supply

13.12.2007

Army staff and civilians at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire have been warned to boil their water after an illness bug was found in supplies. Routine checks have found traces of the cryptosporidium parasite, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The affected water is supplied by C2C Services, part of Severn Trent Water. All personnel within the military area and 2,000 commercial and residential properties outside are affected.  Four schools in the Catterick area have also been closed because of concerns about the water supply.

As a result of routine testing, traces of the parasite cryptosporidium were detected. The water therefore does not meet required standards. The MoD have advised everyone within the affected area to boil all water used for drinking, cleaning teeth and food preparation. Once boiled, the affected water is safe to drink.

C2C Services have advised that the problem may have been caused by one of the four main filters at the treatment plant. The filter has been isolated and further tests are being carried out. The company said the tests would confirm whether the fault was in the filter. Although no cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported symptoms can take longer than a couple of days to show. The people most at risk are those receiving treatment for cancer or HIV.

Another example of how vulnerable people can was in the instance of Camelford. In 1998 Irwin Mitchell represented similar victims to Catterick. A temporary driver for South West Water dumped 20 tons of aluminium sulphate into the wrong tank at the Lowermoor water treatment plant. This Aluminium sulphate went in highly concentrated quantities directly into the mains water supply to 20,000 homes. Over the following months, hundreds of the town's residents complained of a range of symptoms including skin rashes, joint pain, sore throats, short term memory problems and general exhaustion.

South West Water Authority were prosecuted and fined £10,000.00 and ordered to pay £25,000.00 in costs. Irwin Mitchell represented Claimants in a civil action against South West Water for compensation for injury. In 1994, 148 victims accepted compensation totalling almost £400,000.00 in a settlement approved by the High Court in Truro.

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