Canadians sickened by tainted tap water in 2001 to collect compensation

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Seven-hundred young people who were sickened by tainted tap water in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan 16 years ago will collect government compensation, the provincial government said on Wednesday.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 people became ill in 2001 after a parasite entered the drinking water system in North Battleford, a city of 14,000 people.

Saskatchewan and the City of North Battleford will share a C$3.3 million ($2.4 million) fund to compensate those who were younger than 18 at the time they contracted cryptosporidiosis, a contaminant that can cause diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting.

Earlier this month, a Saskatchewan court approved the settlement amount.

Settlements will be C$750 per person or more, based on the severity of a person’s illness. Saskatchewan and North Battleford settled with 800 other people in 2003.

Since 2001, the Saskatchewan government has toughened regulations on water standards and many municipal waterworks utilities have improved drinking water quality, the government said in a statement.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; editing by Grant McCool