Following advise from HSE, notice has been extended during high risk cryptosporidium period

Areas affected by the Boil Water Notice include the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and a large rural hinterland including the villages of Annagh, Aclare, Bellaghy, Bunnanaddan, Curry, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow, Carroweden, Kilmacteige, Quarryfield and Coolaney. 

This boil notice also includes customers supplied by the Ogham Group Water Scheme (GWS) in Co. Sligo and the following areas in Co. Mayo: Cloontia, Doocastle, and the Moylough GWS.

Following consultation with the Health Service Executive, Irish Water working in partnership with Sligo County Council advise that the boil water notice for the area supplied by the Lough Talt Public Water Supply will remain in place.

The boil water notice was put in place on February 5 following a detection of cryptosporidium during routine sampling at the water treatment plant. An increased continuous weekly sampling plan was implemented and five further detections of cryptosporidium were found both at the plant and in the supply network. Following further consultation with the HSE, it was advised that the boil water notice should remain in place until mid-may to coincide with the high risk cryptosporidium season. Continued sampling occurred over a total period of 16 weeks. Zero detections have been recorded since March 7, representing 10 successive weeks of clear sampling through the high risk cryptosporidium season.

HSE investigating reported cases of cryptosporidiosis in the community

The HSE have informed Irish Water they are investigating reported cases of cryptosporidiosis in the community and while the source of transmission is unclear at this point, in the interest of public health the HSE advised that the notice continues for another four weeks. Sampling will continue during this time and all results will be reviewed by the relevant stakeholders.
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.

Provision of emergency water treatment plant 

In 2015 Irish Water proposed to construct a water treatment plant downstream of the existing water treatment plant site but was refused planning permission by Sligo County Council and subsequently on appeal by An Bord Pleanála. The 2015 application was refused permission because An Bord Pleanála could not exclude the possibility that the development, in combination with the abstraction from Lough Talt, would adversely affect the Lough Hoe Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the River Moy SAC (within which Lough Talt is located). Irish Water is preparing a suitable planning application, under a process known as IROPI (Imperative Reasons of Over-riding Public Interest), for the provision of an emergency water treatment plant to address the absence of an effective crypto barrier, but also to provide mitigation against the formation of Trihalomethanes (THMs).

EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL)

The Lough Talt supply is currently on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) for both cryptosporidium and THM risk. The emergency plant is to be built on the existing site and Irish Water is expected to lodge a planning application with Sligo County Council by the end of May. It is imperative that the application is as robust as possible and addresses all questions raised by the previous unsuccessful application.  

A validated  barrier against cryptosporidium will be  provided and the risk of THM formation is significantly reduced at the Lough Talt water treatment plant if the planning application is approved. All options are being investigated including the standard planning process and the emergency IROPI process. However, the long term solution will be the provision of water from an alternative source and this option is also being investigated by Irish Water.

Public health is our number one priority

Seamus Granahan, Regional Asset Operations Manager, said “Public health is our number one priority and ultimately our aim is to provide compliant and robust water treatment for the 13,000 people who are supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply in the shortest possible time and that is where our attentions are focused.

“his detection of cryptosporidium came to light due to heightened sampling by Irish Water on this scheme. Irish Water is acutely aware that this water supply lacks the necessary barriers and will continue to monitor it closely to ensure public health is safeguarded.”

Over 70 leaks detected and repaired on this scheme since beginning of March

Since the implementation of the boil water notice Irish Water, in partnership with Sligo County Council, has completed a review of the Lough Talt catchment followed by protection works at the inlet. Scouring of the network took place along with reservoir cleaning and a leakage reduction campaign. Over 70 leaks were detected and repaired on this scheme since the beginning of March and find and fix repair crews continue to operate in the area in an effort to reduce the amount of treated water being lost to leaks. 
Customers are reminded to continue to boil water before consumption including the washing of teeth, making of ice and in the preparation of food that is not cooked. It is imperative that people adhere to the boil water notice.

Irish Water and Sligo County Council sincerely apologise to all customers for any inconvenience caused by this Boil Water Notice.

Water must be boiled for:

  • 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

What actions should be taken:

  • 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
  • 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

HSE advice for making up infant formula

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.

Bottled water can be used to make up infant formula. 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. If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute), and cooled in the normal way. Ready-to-use formula that does not need added water can also be used.

Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner and provide a stool sample for testing. They should continue to drink plenty of boiled or bottled water. 

Great care should be taken with boiled water

Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

For more information and additional advice, call our customer care helpline on Callsave 1850 278 278.

Mayo, Sligo

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