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On the water front

(Photograph) - On the water front: Devon County Council has been forced to supply bottled water to 23,000 pupils and 2,000 staff returning to school this week because of contamination of the water supply by the organism Cryptosporidium.

Traces of the bug, which causes severe diarrhoea and has already made 415 people ill, are still being detected in the mains. Devon estimates the cost of the bottled water at Pounds 25,000 a week, and Simon Jenkin, chief education officer, said that the authority would be considering a claim to South West Water for compensation. The source of the outbreak has not yet been confirmed, but a local sewage treatment works is under investigation. The council intends to buy Devon spring water where possible.

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