South West Water has lifted its ‘boil water notice’ in some areas of Brixham in Devon affected by contaminated water.

However, while the water company said it was now safe for around 14,500 households in the Alston supply area to use their tap water as normal, it is still advising around 2,500 properties in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear to continue to boil their drinking water before consuming it.

South West Water said the move comes after its water quality monitoring results confirm no cryptosporidium in its Alston supply area.

Today’s decision was made in consultation with the UK Health Security Agency and the local authority’s Environmental Health Department, it added.

On Wednesday (May 15), South West Water issued a boil water notice to around 17,000 households and businesses in the Alston and Hillhead water supply areas, advising them not to use their tap water for drinking without boiling and cooling it first.

This was the result of finding cryptosporidium – a waterborne disease caused by a microscopic parasite, which causes sickness and diarrhoea - in the Hillhead supply area in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A boil water notice was also issued to properties in the Alston supply area at this time, as a necessary precaution.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Thursday that 22 cases of cryptosporidium had been confirmed in Brixham.

One primary school, Eden Park, was forced to close due to not have drinking water.

Falmouth Packet: People in Hillhead and upper parts of Brixham are still told to drink bottled water or boil tap water before drinking itPeople in Hillhead and upper parts of Brixham are still told to drink bottled water or boil tap water before drinking it (Image: Ben Birchall/PA)

Today (Saturday) South West Water said seven separate tests have now been undertaken by specialists in the Alston water supply area, all of which have found no traces of cryptosporidium. A sample has also been independently analysed by a third-party laboratory yesterday, also confirming no contamination.

However, Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear remain under the restrictions.

A damaged valve on private land in the Hillhead supply area has been identified as the possible cause of contamination, which has since been isolated from the network and repaired.

South West Water said it was “urgently investigating how this happened,” while working to rule out any other possible sources of contamination elsewhere in the network.

Ground teams are working over the weekend and into next week to fully resolve the issue, and South West Water said it will only lift the remaining boil water notice when it is “entirely satisfied it is safe to do so”. Regular testing will also continue throughout the network.

Laura Flowerdew, South West Water’s chief customer and digital officer, said: “This situation has caused an immense amount of disruption, distress and anxiety. We are truly sorry this has happened.

“The public rightly expect a safe, clean and reliable source of drinking water and on this occasion, we have fallen significantly short of expectations.

“We will not stop working until this has been fully resolved.

“With the boil water notice still in place in Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear, we are urging customers who are unsure if they are still affected to visit the ‘postcode checker’ on our website or call us so we can check for them.”

The company said it recognised the ongoing disruption to customers in the Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear area over the weekend and into next week, and an additional £100 compensation will be paid to affected customers in that area, giving each customer a total of £215.

This payment will be made automatically to customers with direct debit details, or applied as a credit to the next water bill of customers who do not have these details available.

South West Water has now set up a dedicated helpline for business customers to help them understand how it can support them, including questions relating to any compensation.

It said any claims will be fast tracked and reviewed on an individual basis, and businesses are urged to call 03332 343 293. This line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

The company will continue to offer bottled water stations at Freshwater Quarry Public Car Park (TQ5 8BA), Broadsands Car Park (TQ4 6HX) and Churston Car Boot Sale Field (TQ4 7BQ), and so far have provided 386,000 bottles of water to customers.

Bottled water continues to be delivered to vulnerable customers and to local businesses, including schools and care homes.

Customers are being urged to check whether they are still in an the area affected by the boil water notice by using South West Water’s postcode tracker at