Irish Water would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident and thank customers for their patience in complying with this notice.

Irish Water can confirm that the do not drink, do not use for food preparation or do not wash notice has been lifted with immediate effect for all customers in  Kilcloon, Moygaddy, Killeany, Kilgraigue, Harristown, Brownstown, Ballynare, Butlerstown, Staffordstown, Brownrath, Blackhall Little, Waynestown, Harlockstown, Ballymacoll in Co Meath.

Chlorine is an essential disinfectant, used around the world, which ensures that water is safe to drink. The levels of chlorine in the water may vary depending on the level of disinfection required. This can lead to odour issues on water that is safe to drink.

Unacceptably elevated chlorine levels

Irish Water was notified late on Monday night via email that customers were experiencing water quality issues. Irish Water then telephoned those customers on Tuesday and they reported a smell of chlorine from their water but they did not point to any other ill effects. Irish Water then started a process to get the water in the affected areas sampled. By the time we had the results of the sampling on Wednesday morning, which showed unacceptably elevated chlorine levels, Irish Water had received calls from a small number of customers who said they were feeling unwell. By this point Irish Water had consulted with the HSE and on their advice we put a notice on advising customers not to use the water for drinking, food preparation or washing. By 2pm on Wednesday Irish Water had bottled water on site at Kilcloon School and Church for public distribution and this location was replenished and supplemented by bulk water containers.

Irish Water then worked with Meath County Council to carry out a programme of flushing on the network to return the chlorine levels to the correct drinking water standards. We liaised continually with the HSE to keep them informed of our on-going sampling results.

HSE fully confident that the water is once again safe to use

It was only when the HSE was fully confident that the water was once again safe to use that they advised us to lift the notice.

Our investigations have indicated that an operational failure on a chlorine booster caused a very gradual over-chlorination of the water. This over-chlorination built gradually to the point where customers could smell the excess and told us that they were feeling unwell.

Irish Water would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident and thank customers for their patience in complying with this notice. Any customers with any health concerns should please contact their GP. We are grateful to those who contacted us and would like to remind all customers to contact our customer care helpline on 1850 278 278 for any queries or concerns. Our call centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Meath

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