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Sevenoaks: E. coli outbreak in Fort Halsted area

By Claire McWethy

Hundreds of residents were warned not to drink tapwater after an outbreak of E. coli.

Letters of caution were sent out to people living in the Fort Halsted area of Sevenoaks, after tests confirmed the supply had become contaminated.

E. coli is a bacteria which can lead to bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or even,in serious cases, kidney failure. It can take three to four days for symptoms to develop.

E.Coli bacteria under a microscope. Stock image

E.Coli bacteria under a microscope. Stock image

Bottled water was handed out to 700 homes, and residents advised to boil water before drinking or cooking with it.

It is believed there were two positive samples, originating from empty homes in Beckman Close and Crow Drive.

A spokesman for Sevenoaks District Council said: “On April 3, a fault occurred in a private water supply affecting a small number of homes close to Fort Halstead resulting in residents temporarily being without water.

“As part of the reinstatement of the supply the distribution network was flushed with chlorinated water and sampling undertaken.

The outbreak is believed to have started in Beckman Close. Picture Google Street View

The outbreak is believed to have started in Beckman Close. Picture: Google Street View

“One set of samples identified levels of E.coli in a small section of the network.
“We have served notice on those with a legal responsibility for the water supply.”

Today, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which is responsible for the private water supply, said no-one had been put at risk, or become ill as a result of the outbreak, and confirmed the water had been retested and found to be E. coli free.

The Fort Halsted site was previously occupied by the MoD’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), but that is being relocated to Porton Down in Wiltshire.

There are now plans to build 450 homes there.

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