Drinking Water: Contamination

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th October 2015.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy Conservative, South Ribble

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps (a) her Department and (b) the Drinking Water Inspectorate are taking to ensure that utility companies take all reasonable measures to resolve efficiently and effectively (i) water contamination issues and (ii) cryptosporidium contamination.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Water companies are required to provide safe supplies of drinking water to the public. Where contamination of a public water supply occurs, whether by cryptosporidium or by any other cause, the water company involved is expected to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the public remains safe, and that a safe supply of drinking water is restored. The DWI has a rigorous independent regulatory and inspection regime, and holds enforcement powers to ensure that the likelihood of such an event is minimised, and, when they do occur, that the measures taken to resolve any issues are in interests of the customer.

Defra is the sponsor department for the water industry and is responsible for setting the legal and policy framework for the regulatory regime as applied by Ofwat (the economic regulator) and the DWI (the drinking water quality regulator). When the DWI produces its report on the recent cryptosporidium incident in Lancashire, Defra will consider, with other stakeholders, what wider lessons can be learnt about the effectiveness of the current regime.

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