Residents in Egremont have been complaining of a foul smell and taste in their water supply.

Simeon Scott, 60, from Meadow View, Castle Croft, said that over the Easter weekend “yhere was a nasty taste and smell in the water. It was not chlorine, it was more of a clinical chemical taste, like a disinfectant.”

Mr Scott said he has experienced issues with the water on several occasions, but this time he thinks the water made him ill. He said: “I had stomach cramps and a bout of diarrhoea over a couple of days.”

He said someone from United Utilities came to take a sample. He said: “The lad came round and said ‘we’ve had no complaints from anyone else, the taste could be back wash from your washing machine’.”

Mr Scott said other neighbours on Meadow View and at Croadalla Avenue have also complained of a strange taste in their water and one said she can’t use the shower as the water brings out blotches “as though she’s been burned”.

Mr Scott was disheartened after he said the test was not analysed for any bacterial issues. He said: “He went to his van and came back and said ‘they say your water is safe to drink’.”

He added: “I don’t think that United Utilities should be telling people it is safe to drink without testing it. We’ve had issues ever since they started using borehole water. The lad tested the pH of the water and chlorine content for any acidity, that’s it.”

Egremont town and Copeland councillor Michael McVeigh has also had problems with his water supply. He said: “I had problems with my water a few months ago and when I turned the tap on it really was beyond belief. I was dumbfounded it was that bad, it was vile. I was shocked to the extreme that it had come through the tap.”

He said United Utilities quickly sent someone out and he had immediately bottled a sample for them to collect, but his wife had inadvertently thrown that bottle out, so they had to take a different sample from the tap.

He added: “It really was horrendous, I only ever drink bottled water now. I just don’t drink tap water.”

He said he constantly hears of people with problems with their water and there has even been a Facebook group set up by Mark Jennings for people experiencing problems with their water in West Cumbria. ‘West Cumbria Water Supply (Save Our Water Services)’ has 6,500 members.

United Utilities insists the water is safe to drink.

A spokesperson said: “We have been to take a sample of the water from the property after the customer reported concerns about the taste. It can take up to 10 days to run all of the analysis on the sample, but we have not found anything out of the ordinary so far.

"We will of course notify the customer of the sample results when they have all been returned. We have not made any changes to the water supply in the area and residents can continue to use the water as normal.”