United Utilities pleads guilty at crypto hearing

At its recent court hearing relating to to an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in some 700,000 people near Preston in August 2015, United Utilities has pleaded guilty to one charge of supplying water unfit for human consumption brought by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). Sentencing is expected later this year.

Further charges, brought earlier by the DWI, of failure to properly disinfect water that was supplied for domestic purposes 
 and failure to design and continuously operate an adequate treatment process before supplying water for domestic purposes were dropped.

United Utilites said, after the 19 July hearing: “United Utilities has pleaded guilty to one single charge of providing water that was unfit for human consumption between 30 July 2015 and 18 August 2015, from our Franklaw Water Treatment Works, Preston.

“We have taken a full and open role with the DWI during its investigation, and complied with all its requests for information. A full programme of remedial and repair work has already been implemented to safeguard future supplies."

The cryotosporidium bacteria were found at the Franklaw works which supplies about 300,000 homes. Compensation payments for the outbreak have so far cost United Utilities some £25 m.