25 October 2018 Go back to News
Lough Talt Boil Water Notice lifted with immediate effect
The boil water notice was in place since February 5th this year
Following consultation with the Health Service Executive, Irish Water working in partnership with Sligo and Mayo County Councils advise that the boil water notice for the area supplied by the Lough Talt Public Water Supply is lifted with immediate effect.
The boil water notice was put in place on February 5 2018 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 during the month of February.
Following several consultations with the HSE over the intervening months, it was advised that the boil water notice should remain in place due to inadequate treatment for cryptosporidium, cryptosporidium detections at the plant and investigations of associated illness in the community. Continued weekly monitoring demonstrated zero detection since February 28 2018 until the end of August when further detections of cryptosporidium at the plant were recorded.
Following a consultative meeting yesterday evening (Wednesday 24 October) between Irish Water, the HSE and Sligo County Council it has been agreed to lift the notice with immediate effect as there have been no reported cases of illness in the community and zero detections recorded since the end of August. In the meantime, Irish Water will continue to monitor this supply closely for the presence of cryptosporidium in the interest of public health.
Commenting, Anthony Skeffington, Regional Asset Operations Manager from Irish Water said: “Public health is our number one priority and we aim 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.
“This 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.”
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 until the plant is upgraded and a validated cryptosporidium barrier is provided there is a high risk of further cryptosporidium detections in the supply. If this scenario occurs, it is possible that the boil water notice may be re-imposed. Irish Water will work with the HSE to protect the health of those on the water supply and take any and all measures necessary to do this.
Planning for a Solution
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 applied for planning to upgrade the water treatment plant on 28 May 2018 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). Sligo County Council requested further information on 19 July 2018 and Irish Water is currently reviewing the draft further information request and expect to return the information to Sligo County Council in November 2018.
Remedial Action List
The Lough Talt supply is currently on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) for both cryptosporidium and THM risk. A validated barrier against cryptosporidium will be provided and the risk of THM formation will be 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.
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 the cleaning of all reservoirs associated with the scheme.
A leakage reduction campaign has detected and repaired over 180 leaks on this scheme since the beginning of March 2018. 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 and the volume of water abstracted from the Lough Talt SAC.
Customers in the Bellaghy area were removed from the boil water notice in June and given a secure supply of water from the Charlestown supply. They will remain on this supply until such time as a new treatment plant is built to supply the Lough Talt scheme.
Irish Water and Sligo County Council regret the inconvenience this boil water notice has had on businesses and residents and would like to thank all customers for their continued co-operation during the period of the notice.
Business customers will shortly receive a 40% rebate (backdated to March 2018 when the BWN was first issued) on the cost of the supply of water to their businesses for the duration of the boil water notice.
Irish Water acknowledges the patience, cooperation and assistance of the general public during the period of the boil water notice and greatly regrets any inconvenience caused to householders, the farming and business community.
Further information and additional advice for customers on the boil water notice is available by calling Irish Water’s 24-hour customer care helpline on 1850 278 278, billing enquiries on 1850 778 778.