HUNDREDS of residents in a village near York are being ordered to boil their tapwater before drinking it after bacteria was discovered in the water.

Yorkshire Water officials went door to door around Elvington yesterday evening, issuing 'boil orders' to about 600 properties and handing bottled water to customers with additional needs.

It said that during a routine test, it had 'found a potential issue' in the village.

"You can still use your water to wash, clean and flush your loo," it said. "But until further notice, we’ve taken the precautionary measure to ask you to boil your water before you consume it. We're on-site dealing with the problem."

A spokesman said today: “We regularly check our drinking water to make sure it meets our high standards and during one of these routine tests we’ve found a potential issue in Elvington near York.

"While we investigate this, as a precaution we’re advising that customers who live in Elvington boil their water before drinking or using it for cooking.

“We’re sorry about this, but we’re taking the precautionary approach to keep everyone safe. We’re directly notifying the residents who are impacted, and we’ll be providing updates on our website.”

Asked what the 'issue' was, he said: "It’s bacteria, which is not normally harmful to health, but until we've done extra sampling we're taking this approach as a precaution.

"We expect the boil order to be in place for a couple of days and it’s precautionary at the moment – we have teams on site to help customers directly."

He said approximately 600 properties were affected.

"We delivered the boil orders door to door yesterday evening, sent texts to customers, delivered bottled water to customers with additional needs who are registered with us, have teams on the ground currently to speak to customers and are using our social media channels and website to alert people and keep people updated."

The spokesman said this afternoon that Yorkshire Water was still undertaking extra tests to understand when it could lift the precautionary advice and allow everything to return to normal.

"We need to wait for two days of clear test results before we can do this," he said.

 It can take up to 20 hours for our lab to fully test the samples, so once we have received the test results for the samples taken today then we can provide an update. We expect this to be tomorrow lunch time.

"In the meantime, our colleagues are busy in the area providing bottled water to those who need it and answering any questions that residents may have."