Water bosses to use UV rays to kill bug

Scientists in the testing labs of the United Utilities HQ in Great Sankey, near Warrington
Scientists in the testing labs of the United Utilities HQ in Great Sankey, near Warrington
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Water bosses are bringing in portable Ultra Violet ray equipment to try to speed up the clearing of the parasite from the water system which has forced customers to boil drinking water for the past two weeks.

United Utilities is to use the UV rigs at three sites on the Fylde which it says should make a difference and help kill off the cryptosporidium bug.

The equipment, which consists of powerful fluorescent UV lights shining in a pipe through which water passes, will be used on water leaving the Warbreck, Weeton and Westby service reservoir outlets.

The UV rays attack the DNA of the parasite killing it rapidly. It also works on other potentially harmful bugs such as e-coli.

The bosses say that extensive studies of the water supply system over the past fortnight has revealed certain areas where UV treatment should be effective in improving the water quality and speeding the end of the cryptosporidium contamination.

The advice to boil water remains in place for drinking, preparation of food and for cleaning teeth, for hundreds of thousands of customers in parts of the county – including Blackpool, the Fylde coast, Preston, South Ribble, Wyre, and Chorley – with no inducation of when the crisis is likley to be over.

A United Utilities spokesman said: “We are really sorry for the inconvenience. We are continuing to flush through the system and are taking samples which show the situation improving, but we cannot take any risks with public health and, in consultation with the other organisations, we will agree when we can lift the advice to boil your water.

“We will only do that when we can be absolutely certain there are no longer any traces of cryptosporidium in the water.”