North Walsham water safe to drink

Thousands of people in the North Walsham area have been given the green light to drink their tap water after a 10-day health scare.

Thousands of people in the North Walsham area have been given the green light to drink their tap water after a 10-day health scare.

Water bosses announced the all clear this afternoon and simultaneously confirmed they would compensate all 6,000 households and businesses affected - at a total cost of around £170,000.

On June 15 Anglian Water introduced the precautionary measure of telling people to boil their water after a sample failed to reach normal safety standards amid fears the bug Cryptosporiduim had entered the drinking water supply.

People in the town and nearby communities such as White Horse Common and parts of Felmingham were advised to boil their water before drinking it or using it for food preparation, but a large percentage of those affected bought dozens of litres of bottled water instead, boosting sales in the local supermarkets and shops.

The all clear came after extensive water quality monitoring revealed samples were safe again. This decision was made by Anglian Water together with the Norfolk Health Protection Team and North Norfolk District Council.

It was accompanied by an apology from Anglian Water's chief executive Jonson Cox, who said: “I'd like to personally apologise for the inconvenience caused.

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“The boil notice was necessary to protect customers' health and I would like to thank them for their patience and cooperation throughout.

“Anglian Water will never take risks when it comes to the health of our customers.”

The level of compensation revealed today has been criticised by some, including a hotelier who described the £50 offer as “arrogant” in the light of the large amount of money he has been forced to spend to provide safe water for his guests.

While businesses will receive £50, individual households will benefit to the tune of £25. The money will be offered in the form of a credit to water accounts.

Don Birch, proprietor of the Birchwood Hotel in the town, said: “The offer is a joke, I find it rather arrogant.

“It has cost me £50 a day to buy bottled water for drinking, food preparation and for guests to brush their teeth.”

There has also been praise for Anglian Water, with Mundesley Road resident Hazel Wones thanking staff who delivered water to her home.

“They have done their very best in difficult circumstances and I think they should be given credit for that,” said Mrs Wones.

The compensation package will include £15,000 for community projects.

Anglian Water has also accelerated a £1m scheme to enhance the water supply to North Walsham. A new three kilometre pipeline and booster pumps will provide “additional resilience” in the area.

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