We often take it for granted in Britain that the water flowing from our taps is safe to drink.
However, sometimes this is just not the case. Tap water in Clevedon, North Somerset, has been found to be infected with a deadly bug.
This dangerous bug discovered at Clevedon treatment works, known as Parasite Cryptosporidium, can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and dehydration.
It can prove to be fatal for those with weak immune systems, for example those going through chemotherapy or those who are experiencing long term poor health.
Bristol Water have told Clevedon residents with the postcode BS21 or BS49 to boil all their drinking water until advised otherwise.
The boil notice is likely to stay in place for 48 hours at least, however customers will be informed directly when it is to be removed.
Bristol Water released the following statement:
We apologise to customers for this disruption, but any potential risk to health is our number one priority.
We immediately shut the treatment works down once we had the initial result.
Hopefully, the boil notice will only be in place for a short period but every precaution needs to be taken to ensure the safety of our customers.
We are working hard to ensure all customers affected are informed and kept up to date.
Bristol Water is currently advising against using tap water for drinking, cooking (unless boiled), bathing, cleaning teeth, feeding pets, cleaning dishes, washing clothes or heating baby food.
Residents should also refrain from swimming for the next few days.
Didn't even see the out of order sign to the tap at the gym that I was drinking from and then heard that about Bristol water, decent
— CurtisDisley (@CurtisDisley) January 11, 2018
There are a lot of elderly people in Clevedon who have not received this message. Not everyone is active on social media or has a relative. Have passed it on as far as we can but @BristolWater you've got to step this up. It's not ok.
— Owen C. Hewlett (@etr10vr) January 11, 2018
I’ve just realised how much we take our water for granted. Thank you Bristol Water for finding the hazard, taking the precautions and dealing with the problem.
— Chowkin (@Chowkinn) January 12, 2018
Since the warning was issued on January 11, Bristol Water staff have been visiting homes to give bottled water to those who are particularly vulnerable, including children and the elderly.
The bug has also affected the running of local schools. Clevedon School and Mary Elton Primary School will reportedly be closed today due to ‘health and safety reasons’.
Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health England South West, Thara Raj, has said:
We would remind people in the affected areas to follow the advice from Bristol Water and boil their drinking water and allow to cool before use.
The levels of Cryptosporidium detected in the water supply is low and the advice to boil the water is as a precaution.
If people feel unwell or experience symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting they should contact NHS 111. If your symptoms become severe, you should contact your GP.
How do I get bottled water for an elderly mother? @yidaho_UK
— JULIETTE TAYLOR (@juliettetaylor) January 11, 2018
That Bristol Water warning don't use water for "drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning teeth, feeding pets, washing up, washing clothes or heating baby food". Wouldn't it have been easier to say, don't use the water at all!
— Jon Blain (@Jon_BOA) January 12, 2018
We are aware of the 'Boil Notice' issued by @BristolWater . Further info via Parent Comms and Twitter.
— Clevedon School (@ClevedonSchool) January 11, 2018
However, some people are concerned about the effect this bug could have on the elderly and are questioning whether the water company is doing enough for those affected by the outbreak of the bug.
One concerned person tweeted:
Bristol Water saying because my grandparents aren’t on their Priority Registry thing they won’t deliver them bottled water now when they’ve been told not to drink tap water.
My grandad is 80 & not long out of hospital. That’s great customer service. Really looking after customers
My grandparents are elderly and vulnerable living in Clevedon.
Nobody has taken them any water, and when my grandmother rang your water line she was disconnected because you are experiencing high call volume!!
Unacceptable. What are you going to do about this?
@BristolWater saying because my grandparents aren’t on their Priority Registry thing they won’t deliver them bottled water now when they’ve been told not to drink tap water. My grandad is 80 & not long out of hospital. That’s great customer service. Really looking after customers
— Aimée Hyndman (@aimeeraindrop) January 12, 2018
@BristolWater My grandparents are elderly and vulnerable living in clevedon. Nobody has taken them any water, and when my grandmother rang your water line she was disconnected because you are experiencing high call volume!! Unacceptable. What are you going to do about this?
— Aimée Hyndman (@aimeeraindrop) January 12, 2018
Bristol Water customers should contact them on 0345 702 3797 for further details.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.