Irish Water working in partnership with Sligo County Council would like to inform customers supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply that the boil water notice issued on the supply on 11 January 2019 has been lifted with immediate effect to benefit approximately 13,000 customers. Lifting this notice will also benefit consumers supplied by the Ogham Group Water Scheme, and Cloontia, Doocastle and Quarryfield customers in Co Mayo. Following consultation with the HSE, Irish Water and Sligo County Council are advising customers that the drinking water can now be consumed as normal.

Today’s announcement is welcome news for the residents supplied from the Lough Talt supply and a significant achievement for Irish Water and Sligo County Council.  A boil water notice had been put in place in January 2019 to protect public health due to ongoing detections of cryptosporidium in the public water supply. The Lough Talt water treatment plant built in 1972 did not provide adequate treatment for protection against cryptosporidium and the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs), and needed to be upgraded.

Anthony Skeffington, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Manager comments: “Irish Water and Sligo County Council would like to thank the customers who were affected by this notice for their patience and cooperation while essential works were carried out at the water treatment plant to ensure the notice could be lifted as quickly as possible.

We are delighted that the plant is now operational following a €10 million investment by Irish Water and the long running boil water notice is now lifted. The commencement of these works followed a complex planning process.

“Having consulted with the planning authorities and the EU Commission in relation to the Habitats Directive, Irish Water worked with key stakeholders including the National Parks and Wildlife Service to progress a planning application under the ‘Imperative Reasons for Over-riding Public Interest (IROPI)’ mechanism. Irish Water submitted a revised planning application in 2018 supported by the IROPI documentation and planning permission was granted in May 2019 with conditions attached. This was the first ever successful IROPI decision in Ireland. Irish Water remains committed to meeting the ecological requirements associated with this complex and unique project in the years ahead."

A number of consumers in the Bellaghy area are still served by the Charlestown Public Water Supply. Irish Water and Sligo County Council will be carrying out preparatory works on the network in Bellaghy and surrounds over the coming week or so, in order to transfer them back to the Lough Talt scheme as quickly as possible. The consumers may experience some disruption to their current supply while these necessary works are taking place.

John McElwaine, Regional Delivery Lead, Irish Water, added: “Irish Water acknowledges the impact and inconvenience caused by the imposition of this boil water notice to homes and businesses. Our priority is the provision of safe, clean drinking water and safeguarding that water supply for the future is a vital focus.

The upgraded plant is supplying clean and safe drinking water to Tubbercurry, Ballymote and the surrounding communities. We anticipate that the plant will continue to abstract water from Lough Talt for the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Irish Water has begun a feasibility study to identify an alternative water source that will replace the Lough Talt supply in the long term.

As part of the upgrade works which enabled the lifting of the Boil Water Notice, Irish Water installed new robust treatment processes at the plant. The completed works mitigate against THM formation, protect against cryptosporidium, and improve the water quality.

John continued: “The next step is to collate and submit the required verification data to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their consideration and assessment. Irish Water is currently compiling all the necessary data on the performance of the new water treatment plant for submission to the EPA with a view to facilitating its removal from the Remedial Action List (RAL. This is expected in the near future.”

Business customers have been receiving a 40 per cent rebate on the cost of the supply of water to their businesses for the duration of the boil water notice. Should customers have any queries regarding the lifting of this notice they can check out the Supply and Service Updates section or contact us directly on Twitter @IWCare and via our customer care helpline which is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278.

Previous Updates

14 February 2020

Irish Water, working in partnership with Sligo County Council, would like to remind customers supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply that the scheme remains on a boil water notice. Works are progressing at the existing Lough Talt treatment plant to ensure a safe and secure supply of water will be delivered to the people on this scheme by the end of 2020.

The current Lough Talt water treatment plant does not provide adequate treatment for protection against cryptosporidium and needs to be upgraded. The risk of further detections remains high without a validated barrier against cryptosporidium. This can result in severe illness if the public do not boil their water before consumption. Generally the highest number of cryptosporidiosis cases are reported in springtime.

The water supply is included on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL), because the existing water treatment plant does not provide sufficient protection against cryptosporidium and trihalomethanes (THM). 

Commenting, John McElwaine, Irish Water said “Public health is our number one priority and it is imperative that people adhere to the boil water notice which remains in place. Irish Water is committed to safeguarding the treated water supplied from the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply for the future and would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience they are experiencing due to the current boil water notice.

“We would like to once again thank the public for their continued cooperation and patience while we work to deliver this much-needed upgrade’’.

Areas affected

Approximately 13,000 people are affected including the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and a large rural hinterland including the villages of:

  • Annagh, Aclare, Bellaghy, Curry, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow, Carrowneden, Kilmacteige and Coolaney

The boil water notice also includes consumers supplied by the Ogham Group Water Scheme and the following areas in Co Mayo:

  • Cloontia, Doocastle and Quarryfield

The boil water notice is no longer in effect in the Bellaghy area following a connection which allowed this area to be supplied from the Charlestown public water supply. This connection removed 488 customers from the boil water notice in Bellaghy, Sandyhill, Cloonaughill, Cully, the southern 80 per cent part of Bunnacrannagh, Brackloonagh, Brogher, Lissard, and Curryfuel.

Business customers will receive a 40 per cent rebate on the cost of the supply of water to their businesses for the duration of the boil water notice and this will be back dated to February 5, 2018.

More information

Should customers have any queries regarding this boil water notice they should contact Irish Water directly on our customer care helpline. Updates are available on the Water Supply Updates section, on Twitter @IWCare and via our customer care helpline open 24/7 on 1850 278 278. For billing enquiries call 1850 778 778. Further information can be found on our Boil Water Notice page. 

  • Drinking 
  • Drinks made with water 
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating 
  • Brushing of teeth 
  • Making of ice
    • Discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges
    • Make ice from cooled boiled water
  • Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads).
  • Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling
  • When boiling water
    • Boil water by bringing to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool
    • Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place
  • Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink
  • Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink 
  • Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water
  • Where a Boil Water Notice is in place, you can prepare infant formula from tap water that has been boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute) and cooled beforehand
  • Prepare infant feeds with tap water that has been brought to the boil once and cooled. Do not use water that has been re-boiled several times.
  • Bottled water can also be used to make up infant formula but if it is used it should be boiled once and cooled. All bottled water, with the exception of natural mineral water, is regulated  to the same standard as drinking water. It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals, although it rarely does. ‘Natural Mineral Water’ can be used if no other water is available, for as short a time as possible, as it is important to keep babies hydrated.
  • Ready-to-use formula that does not need added water can also be used.
  • Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to boil the water and let it cool before giving to your pet.

A Boil Water Notice is imposed to protect human health. If you have concerns regarding your animals drinking water that is subject to a Boil Water Notice then you should consult your Vet. Outdoor animals, such as cattle and horses, are exposed to bacteria on a daily basis vastly in excess of that experienced by humans.

All water intended for human consumption should be boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute and cooled before it is used to make hot drinks.

The BWN was imposed on a precautionary basis. However if you are feeling unwell you should consult your GP.

Yes, please put your dishwasher on the highest temperature setting, and let the dishes dry before use.

Most filters are designed to improve the taste and odour of water and not remove harmful bacteria. Check the manual or contact the manufacturer for more information. If in doubt, you should boil your water or use bottled water.

During the short time your water supply is interrupted most central heating systems can be used. However, if you are unsure please refer to your manufacturer’s guide or check with a heating professional.

Consult your local GP for medical advice.

It is recommended that if it is a large open wound or if you are immuno-compromised, apply a waterproof bandage to the wound or take a sponge bath. Seek medical advice for further information.

Using water during a Boil Water Notice

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