Disease outbreaks call drinking water laws into question

Two recent outbreaks of illness in Yorkshire and Devon have raised important questions about whether water companies are taking sufficient care to ensure that cryptosporidium is removed from water supplies. Department of the Environment (DoE) guidelines on precautions to exclude the gut parasite from water supplies have no statutory backing and are proving extremely difficult for the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) to enforce.

The two latest outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis follow a damning report by the DWI on an outbreak near Hull. The report found strong evidence linking the disease to drinking water and criticised Yorkshire Water for relaxing water treatment prior to the incident (ENDS Report 218, pp 7-8 ).

One of the recent outb

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