Government apology to family of Dulverton woman killed after water poisoning (From Somerset County Gazette)
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Government apology to family of Dulverton woman killed after water poisoning
THE government has issued an 'unreservedly' apology to the family of a Somerset woman who died after her water supply was poisoned 25 years ago.
Carole Cross, 59, lived in Camelford, Cornwall, when 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate was put in a contact tank instead of a retaining tank at Lowermoor Water Treatment Works, contaminating the water supply of 20,000 homes in July, 1988.
She moved to Brompton Regis, near Dulverton, but by late 2002 she had noticed that her health was deteriorating and on February 10, 2004, she died in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, after being admitted with unstable blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.
This week, Health Minister Anna Soubry and Environment Minister Richard Benyon sent a letter to Doug Cross, Mrs Cross's husband, saying the water poisoning incident had been 'unprecedented' and the then South West Water Authority had been 'slow' to recognise the problem and take action.
An inquest into Mrs Cross's death, held in March last year at the Municipal Building in Taunton, was told that after being assured that the water was safe to drink, Mrs Cross started to use the mains water in her house, all of which passed through the retaining tank.
West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose told the inquest that even though there was insufficient evidence to suggest conclusively that poisoning caused Mrs Cross's death aluminium may have been a factor.
He added: “The very real possibility exists that her death was contributed to by the ingestion of aluminium, but the suggestion that aluminium was a causative factor must remain only a slight possibility.”
James King, of the South-West Water Association, reassured the court that stringent procedures are in place.
He said: “We weren't the supply operator at the time, but we have very high standards which are kept for customers.”
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