Contact time notice

To disinfect water and make it safe to drink we must add the right amount of chlorine for the correct length of time. We issue Contact time notices if the chlorine disinfection process has not worked.

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Check to see if you have a Contact time notice on your water supply.

Chlorine and contact time notices

Chlorine is used throughout the world for treating water. It is very effective at killing harmful bacteria that could cause illness. For chlorine to work, there needs to be enough chlorine added, but it also needs sufficient time. The standard for contact time has been set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Irish Water is applying this standard as part of our National Disinfection Programme.

When we issue a Contact time notice

We regularly monitor and test all water supplies. If we find there is a issue with Contact time, we:

  • Consult the Health Service Executive (HSE), the statutory authority on public health
  • Tell affected customers if our consultation with the HSE determines there is a risk to public health
  • Place a boil water notice / advisory notice on the water supply
  • Notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Investigate the cause of the issue and correct it

To protect public health, we sometimes issue a notice before test results confirm the risk. For example, if a disinfection system fails or a water source is polluted.

Types of contact time notices

There are two types of contact time notices:

Dual notice

A Dual notice offers you 2 choices to make sure the water is safe to drink. 1. Leave the water to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes to disinfect 2. Boil and cool the water

Boil water notice

Customers must boil and cool the water before drinking during a Boil water notice.

Supplies where Contact Time Advisory Notices are in place

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
Knockadoon 27 9 132 27 31/07/2019 TBC Dual

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
Aughacasla 42 14 342 12 09/06/2020 Q2 2021 Dual

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
The Strand 6 3 6 100 13/11/2020 Q2 2021 BWN

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
Slane 3 1 3,010 0.1 05/07/2019 2021 BWN
Longwood 6 2 1,725 0.35 05/07/2019 2021 BWN

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
Clonmel Poulavanogue 96 36 2,566 4.2 11/10/2018 TBC Dual

Water supply

Population affected (est.)

No of properties affected (est.)

Total population

% of supply affectedNotice issuedNotice lifted (est.)Notice type
Carrignagower 13 14 38 92 22/12/2021 TBC Dual
Tinnabinna 16 36 96 44 22/12/2021 TBC Dual
Joanstown 104 41 112   07/01/2022 TBC Dual
Kilmanahan 11 4 11   07/01/2022 TBC Dual
Graiguenageeha 46 17 40   07/01/2022 TBC Dual

National Disinfection Programme

As part of this programme, we found a small number of properties where the water supply was not fully disinfected. These properties were all located close to a water treatment plant and the water supply had enough chlorine added. However, the water did not have the required 30 minutes to react with the added chlorine.

This water did not reach the minimum standard, set by WHO, for disinfection. We consulted with the HSE and the EPA. To protect public health, we issued notices to all the affected properties.

WHO water standards

Contact time (Ct) is a minimum standard set down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which all drinking water supplies must meet. Irish Water is applying this standard as part of its National Disinfection Programme.

Contact Time is expressed in a compound unit called milligram minutes per Litre (mg.mins/Litre). According to the WHO, water with a Ct of 15mg.min/L is the minimum standard for disinfection, for example:

  • If your water has 0.5mg/L chlorine present and it has been allowed to fully mix for 30 minutes, then the Ct is 0.5mg/L x 30 minutes = 15mg.min/Litre. This is the minimum WHO standard for disinfection.
  • If your water has 0.5mg/L chlorine present and it has been allowed to fully mix for only 20 minutes, then the Ct is 0.5mg/L x 20 minutes = 10mg.min/Litre. This does not meet the minimum WHO standard for disinfection.
  • If too much chlorine is added to your drinking water to compensate for the short contact time, then your water may develop an unacceptable chlorine taste.