30 September 2019 Go back to News
No risk to the public water supply in Cork following consultation with the HSE
HSE confirm organism detected poses no threat
Irish Water consults with the HSE on all matters to do with public health. Following a complaint received from a member of the public in relation to the detection of an organism in their drinking water, Irish Water immediately contacted the HSE. It was confirmed that the organism detected does not pose a risk to human health.
An EPA audit was completed at Inniscarra Water Treatment Plant on 12th July 2019, in response to the complaint. The EPA regularly undertake audits of Irish Water treatment plants, following which they issue an audit report which typically contains a number of recommendations.
Following receipt of the complaint in July, samples were taken at the property and at adjoining properties. No further organisms were detected.
Filter bed immediately removed and treated
Additional samples were taken at the plant, where organisms were detected in 1 of the 8 filters used to treat water at the plant. The filter bed was taken out of use immediately. A number of measures were then implemented in response, including disinfection of the filter bed, backwashing of filters and flushing of mains to eradicate the organisms detected and prevent reoccurrence. A significant amount of water quality sampling has been carried out at the plant as well as in the network and no traces of the organism have been detected since the initial occurrence.
Surface waters contain many organisms and natural elements. In public water treatment, complex processes are designed to remove all harmful organisms and elements to ensure EU drinking water limits are met. It is important to note that this is a rare occurrence.
In the case of the audit for Inniscarra on 12th July, Irish Water has issued responses to the respective audit reports, and is continuing to update the EPA with a view to closing out all recommendations.
The HSE confirmed it was re-assured of the corrective actions undertaken by Irish Water to protect the supply.
Irish Water continues to sample drinking water produced at its treatment plants and throughout its networks. Any issues of concern are reported to the HSE and EPA. Where there is concern about potential harm to human health, Irish Water communicates with the public, usually in the form of a ‘boil water notice’ or ‘do not consume notice’, however none of these were required in this instance.
For more information visit our Water Supply section on water quality.