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North London residents affected by contaminated drinking water

Residents experiencing health problems as a result of drinking contaminated water may be entitled to compensation

Posted on 17 March 2010

Sean Humber, environmental pollution specialist at law firm Leigh Day & Co, was recently asked to comment by BBC News on the contamination of  drinking water supplied to thousands of residents of North East London by Thames Water in February 2010.

The contamination, by small concentrations of organic chemicals, appears to have affected the smell and taste of the drinking water.  It is reported that some1,000 people contacted Thames Water to report foul-smelling and foul-tasting drinking water although they were told that there was no danger to health from the water.  Despite this, a number of people have reported feeling nauseous and ill after drinking  the water.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), who regulate public water supplies in England and Wales, has confirmed that that it is aware of the problem and is currently investigating its cause.  In the meantime, the BBC has reported that the water was contaminated by chemicals 2-EDD and 2-EMD and that the contamination occurred as a result of chemicals entering the River Lea  at sewage treatment works run by Thames Water at Rye Meads in Hertfordshire.

In relation to claims by affected residents, Sean Humber states:

“ Clearly further information is required about the cause, extent and consequences of the contamination.  However, if  residents can show that they suffered health  problems as a result of consuming contaminated drinking water, then it is likely that they will be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses suffered."

For more information please contact Sean Humber or Benjamin Burrows on 020 7650 1200.

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