Water suppliers SES Water sought to reassure residents in the Oxted area on Friday (October 8) after E. coli bacteria was detected in a water treatment works nearby.

As the Croydon Guardian reported, the water suppliers urged thousands of residents in the area to boil their tap water on Thursday as they warned of a possible E. coli contamination.

On Friday evening, SES Water said they were "increasingly confident" that the E. coli contamination, which they said was detected at a treatment works

SES Water's Wholesale Director, Tom Kelly stopped short of lifting the precautionary notice for some 6,500 homes to boil their tap water, however, suggesting that it could be lifted "within 24 hours".

He said: "Following a positive result for E-coli from one sample at our Westwood Water Treatment Works on Thursday, we put in place a precautionary boil notice for customers whose mains water is supplied from the site – this is around 6,500 properties in and around Oxted in Surrey.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and concern this may be causing to some of our customers, but it was the right thing to do, based on the information available at the time.

"I am pleased to say that through our investigations over the last 24 hours, involving sampling and analysis of water quality throughout the area covered by the precautionary boil notice, there is no indication of contaminated water leaving the treatment works.

"We are awaiting final confirmation of this with a third set of tests within the next 24 hours but at this stage, based on the latest sampling results, we are increasingly confident we can lift the precautionary boil notice tomorrow."

E. coli bacteria if commonly found in the gut of most people and animals, but can cause serious health issues if it contaminates more vulnerable areas like wounds, or drinking water supplies. Contamination of water by E-coli can be an indicator of contamination of water by animals or sewage.

SES Water were contacted for comment by the Croydon Guardian.