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Water firm United Utilities has been fined £300,000 for contaminating supplies to more than 700,000 people.
Hundreds of thousands of residents in Lancashire had to boil their water in summer 2015 when microbial parasite cryptosporidium was found in the Franklaw water treatment works in Preston.
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United Utilities Water Ltd spent £25 million as a result of the contamination, including £18.3 million in voluntary compensation payments to households and businesses, Preston Crown Court heard.
Sentencing, honorary recorder of Preston Judge Mark Brown said the company failed to carry out risk assessments which could have prevented the outbreak.
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He said: 'It was the largest event of its kind since the privatisation of the water industry many years ago and it had a major impact on day to day water consumption.
'There was significant disruption to domestic consumers but also to businesses as well.'
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Concerned families panicked bough bottles of water from local supermarkets stripping their shelves bare.
But while a great inconvenience was caused to residents, there was no outbreak of illness as a result of the contamination.
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Judge Brown said: 'The event was completely ended by early September. However, it's likely that in the minds of many customers there would have been ongoing concerns because confidence had been affected.'
He also ordered the company, which has an annual turnover of £1.7 billion, to pay £150,000 costs.
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United Utilities pleaded guilty to the charge at Preston Magistrates' Court in July.
Speaking after the sentencing on Tuesday, the firm's chief executive Steve Mogford said: 'We are very sorry for the impact this had on our customers.
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'I know from first-hand the inconvenience this incident caused, having lived in Lancashire for 40 years.
'We have learned valuable lessons from what happened and have put...
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