E.coli bacteria found in reservoir leaves dozens of homes without water

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Homes supplied by the Stokenchurch reservoir were given bottled water after the bacteria was discovered by Thames Water.

The bacteria was found in one half of the reservoir last week on Friday and Sunday during routine sampling tests.

Around 68 homes had their water supply cut off while Thames Water dealt with the problem.

An alternative water source was found in a water plant in Chinnor, Oxfordshire.

Residents of the village of Northend were heavily affected, with inhabitant Dr Gina Brown sharing her concerns for her elderly parents.

Dr Brown moved her 83-year-old mother, who has arthritis, and her 97-year-old father into the annexe of her home so they could be closer to her.

She told PA: “I think it’s the worry about how my parents are going to manage, because I brought them here to live with me, to build the annexe to keep them safe.

“And I feel like I’ve, you know, brought them here, and almost in some ways made it worse for them.

“Because they have been put in a situation where they weren’t before, where they did have access to water and everything was fine.”

Dr Brown said she had to carry kettles of boiling water upstairs repeatedly to wash herself.

She continued: “It was very laborious, it took far longer than it should have. And quite frankly, lugging kettles of hot water up and down the stairs to be able to have a wash isn’t the easiest thing.

“And then if you imagine my elderly parents trying to do that, I wouldn’t recommend that they should be carrying kettles, hot water, up and down.

“Nor can they even lift the two kilogramme bottles of water that they were supplied with. They couldn’t flush the toilet. My dad is housebound. So what are they to do?”

A spokesperson from Thames Water apologised for the disruption and assured that the water had been disinfected.

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The spokesperson said: “We take anything associated with public health very seriously indeed. We believe the failed samples may be linked to a recently installed sample pump at the reservoir and not the actual water supplied to customers.

“We took the additional precaution of taking samples downstream of the reservoir and all samples came back clear.

“As the protection of water quality is always our first priority we conducted an internal inspection of the reservoir, which identified no significant defects, and also carried out additional precautionary work to ensure the integrity of the reservoir.

“We have disinfected the reservoir prior to returning it to service as well as ensuring that two further clear samples have been taken, all in line with our normal procedures.

“We would like to reassure our customers that there has been no risk to public health.”

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