Letter from Mr and Mrs N Mowat
Our daughter was recently diagnosed with Cryptosporidisosis
and we made a complaint to Thames Water. One of their field technicians
took a sample on Saturday 14 September 2002.
We would like to express our dismay at the manner
in which our complaint has been handled by Thames Water.
We telephoned Thames Water on Monday 9 September
to report that my five year-old daughter had been diagnosed with
Cryptosporidiosis after suffering diarrhoea for more than two
Although we were assured by them that someone
would be along later to test the water no-one came until my husband
telephoned to let them know that the water pressure in our area
was low (following work on one of the mains supply) and mentioned
again that someone was meant to be coming to test our water.
A field technician arrived Saturday morning
(14 September 2002). This was five days after the original complaint,
meaning that any Cryptosporidium might have been flushed from
the system. The technician cleaned the tap with an anti-bacterial
solution (and wipe) and then took a sample. He only sampled about
250ml of water. The sample was taken without enough time for the
anti-bacterial spray to be washed off. In fact it was still dripping
from the tap after the technician had left. Consequently the water
collected probably contained copious amounts of the anti-bacterial
spray and so any bacterial contamination would have been nullified
by the time the sample arrived at the lab.
We received a letter on xx September stating
that there was no bacterial contamination. There was no mention
of Cryptosporidium presence, despite the fact that we had reported
that our daughter had been diagnosed with Cryptosporidisosis (not
a water-borne bacterial infection),
A friend who is a Public Health Scientist specialising
in water-borne infections has told us that to do a reliable test
apparently 10L of water is required, and that normally an in-line
filter is placed in the supply and left for several days so that
any oocysts found can be calculated per 10L. The technician taking
a sample from our supply only drew 250 ml from our tap. This was
Thames Water were therefore negligent because:
1. The water sample was taken some days
after our original complaint allowing time for the contamination/infection
to be flushed out of the system.
2. They did not test for Cryptosporidium
which we had originally complained about.
3. The sampling procedure would have been
inadequate to accurately test for Cryptosporidium.