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Cryptosporidium In Drinking Water

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 7 May 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have completed the review of the implications of the failed prosecution of South-West Water in relation to the outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in the Torbay area in 1995. [HL1774]

We have concluded that there is a case for increased monitoring at water treatment plants that are most at risk of releasing cryptosporidium into drinking water supplies. We propose therefore to begin consultations on amendments to the regulations on drinking water quality to require continuous monitoring of the treated water to detect cryptosporidium at such plants. If this monitoring detects the presence of the organism at an unacceptable level, the Drinking Water Inspectorate will consider prosecution of the company. There would be a new criminal offence of failing to treat water to adequately remove cryptosporidium oocysts. On conviction in a Crown Court, the offence would carry a penalty of an unlimited fine. The intention is to encourage the operation of water treatment plants in line with best practice, which should prevent cryptosporidium in drinking water causing illness. A copy of the consultation paper on the proposals has been placed in the Library of the House.