Notice follows a meeting with the HSE on Friday 28 September

Irish Water, working in partnership with Sligo County Council, would like to advise customers supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply, that the boil water notice issued on the supply on February 5 2018 has been extended until further notice following a meeting with the HSE on Friday, September 28.

The notice was issued due to detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the Lough Talt water treatment plant following routine compliance sampling. Recently there were further detections of cryptosporidium in the water following over 20 weeks of clear sampling. The HSE also investigated a number of cases of cryptosporidiosis in the water supply area during the period the BWN has been in place. 

The HSE have indicated that the criteria for lifting this notice are zero detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the treatment plant together with a coinciding period of no reported illnesses in the community in the absence of a validated crypto barrier at the treatment plant. To date there has been no coinciding period where zero detections and investigations of illness were recorded. 

Please continue to boil water before use

Sampling will continue weekly and will be reviewed again by Irish Water, Sligo County Council and the HSE at the end of October. In the meantime customers are urged to continue boiling water before consumption.

To progress a solution for this scheme, we lodged a planning application on 28 May 2018 to Sligo County Council for essential, emergency upgrade works at the Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant to ensure a secure, clean, safe drinking water supply for the people of the area who have been on a boil water notice since February 5. 

As is common practice in the planning process, Sligo County Council sought further information from Irish Water on July 19 to assist them in making a decision on this application.

We are engaging with our stakeholders in what is an incredibly complex process due to local environmental constraints and every stakeholder wants to ensure that the right outcome is achieved. We are currently completing the report as requested under the request for further information and aims to provide a response to Sligo County Council in November. It remains an absolute priority of us to ensure this project is delivered successfully for the customers who receive their water from the Lough Talt public water supply.

EPA's Remedial Action List

The Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant is currently on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL) for both cryptosporidium and Trihalomethane (THM) risk. The level of treatment currently provided at the Lough Talt water treatment plant does not provide adequate protection against cryptosporidium. Irish Water is advising customers that in the absence of a validated cryptosporidium barrier there is a risk of further cryptosporidium detections in the supply. 

The proposed development, if granted planning permission, will provide an effective cryptosporidium barrier and will mitigate against the formation of THMs. However, we acknowledge that the long term solution will be an alternative water source to supply Tubbercurry and surrounding areas, and therefore we envisage that the proposed Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant upgrade works will be in place for up to 10 years.

Water Services Policy Statement 

We will be writing to homes and businesses on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply Scheme about their water quality and the work being carried out to improve it. 

This is part of a wider communication being undertaken by Irish Water in response to the recent Water Services Policy Statement which called for better engagement and greater transparency for people using public water supplies. This direct communication is an important part of helping the public to understand what we do.

Homes and businesses in 16 counties across the country on 55 different water supply schemes will receive a detailed booklet outlining the issues with their water supply which might vary from elevated THMs, inadequate barriers for cryptosporidium, poor turbidity removal, presence of low levels of pesticides, or details of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit of a plant.

Homes and business on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply will receive a letter to explain to them the issues affecting their water supply, namely cryptosporidium (the reason for the Boil Water Notice) and elevated levels of THMs, along with details of what Irish Water is doing to resolve this.  

European Drinking Water Regulations

We egularly test all public water supplies against a range of standards set out in the European Drinking Water Regulations. These standards are based on guidelines prepared by the World Health Organisation (WHO). If a drinking water sample shows a result above a specified water quality standard, we report it immediately to the environmental regulator, the EPA. The EPA supervises public water schemes and Irish Water. If there is a concern about a possible health risk, we also consult the HSE. Cryptosporodium is the reason for the current Boil Water Notice on the Lough Talt scheme. 

Speaking about the nationwide public information campaign, Irish Water’s Water Compliance Specialist Dr Pat O’Sullivan said “Irish Water has worked closely with the EPA to identify the public water schemes that need a plan or action to improve their water treatment. We are prioritising our investment in these treatment plants. Providing safe, clean drinking water for all on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply is our first goal.

“We monitor and test our supplies on a continuous basis and if this monitoring indicates a potential water quality issue we consult with the HSE. If there is any potential risk to public health from the drinking water supply we inform the public immediately. If anyone has any questions or concerns they should contact Irish Water.”

More information

If members of the public have any questions that are not covered in the booklet please phone us on Callsave 1850 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Sligo

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