Lancashire tap water bug: Probe's 'unacceptable delay'

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Media captionThousands of households had to boil drinking water for a month

A delay publishing a report into how the water supplies of thousands of people were contaminated by a bug for a month is "unacceptable", an MP has said.

Fylde Conservative MP Mark Menzies said trying to get an answer out of the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) was like "speaking to a brick wall".

The DWI said it would not comment until its investigation into the incident in Lancashire in August 2015 is completed.

United Utilities found Cryptosporidium in the supply for about 300,000 homes.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that can cause extreme diarrhoea. which meant that all those affected had to boil their tap water for almost a month.

People with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. For them, symptoms of cryptosporidiosis can be severe and even life-threatening.

Mr Menzies said he was writing to Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, urging her to "shed some light" on the delayed report.

"It's an incredibly long time," he said. "In fact, it is so long it is unacceptable."

He said the outbreak "caused a lot of disruption, especially for people who are elderly or vulnerable".

Image caption Mark Menzies said trying to get answers about the contamination was like 'speaking to a brick wall'

Mr Menzies said the DWI had not provided him with any answers, but it should have the tools at its disposal to at least update the public.

He said: "Its been like speaking to a brick wall - the DWI has been quite arrogant."

Householder Robert Willetts, from Warton, said: "I think it is disappointing we have not heard any more about what caused the contamination.

"As a consumer you assume that this couldn't happen again, but it might be the wrong thing to assume."

Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South, said: "I understand it might be difficult to find the problem, but I think United Utilities could be more open about what is preventing them coming to a definitive conclusion."

Routine tests by United Utilities found traces of Cryptosporidium at Franklaw water treatment works outside Preston.

It affected properties in Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston, South Ribble and Wyre and lasted for four weeks.

A DWI spokeswoman said: "The Inspectorate remains very conscious of the level of interest in this investigation, but to avoid risks of prejudice or impediment to the course of justice, the publication of a report must follow the conclusion of this process."

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