5 February 2016 Go back to News
Plans being advanced for temporary water treatment solution for Loughrea
Irish Water has today apologised again to customers in Loughrea for the continuing disruption to their water supply as a result of a boil water notice imposed by the HSE earlier this week. The Treatment plants producing drinking water for this area are not sufficiently equipped to produce drinking water that meets the current water quality standards. In particular, the plants are vulnerable to pollution incidents in the catchment and the consequences of recent very wet weather which has increased this risk considerably. This has led to Cryptosporidium contamination in the drinking water produced at the plant.
Irish Water is working closely with Galway County Council, the EPA & HSE to look at all operational, equipment & logistical options to provide drinking water for Loughrea and surrounding areas that meets all drinking water quality standards. The current option being investigated is the installation of UV treatment equipment at the old plant.
Sean Laffey, Asset Programmes Manager with Irish Water explained, “Normally UV treatment systems could take up to a year to procure, install and fully test. In the case of the Loughrea plants a solution may be possible within a number of weeks due to the availability of UV treatment equipment that was decommissioned by Irish Water from another plant elsewhere in the country. We are hopeful that we will now be able to get this equipment installed within 3-4 weeks after which further water quality tests will be required on the Loughrea supply to satisfy the HSE & EPA that water can be produced to the high standard required”.
“Lifting the boil water notice could therefore take a number of additional weeks after the equipment is installed and Irish Water, Galway County Council, the HSE and the EPA are continuing to work closely together with a view to enabling the boil water notice to be lifted as soon as possible”, Sean Laffey said. “This urgent response by Irish Water reflects the seriousness with which we view this situation for the population in Loughrea but also shows our ability as a national water utility to be able to respond to this type of emergency quickly”, he added.
A long term solution to the water quality issue in Loughrea has been identified by Irish Water and is at planning stage. This will involve construction of a new pipeline to bring water from a modern treatment plant at Tuam to the Loughrea area but this project will take 2 to 3 years to complete. Efforts are being made to accelerate this project but it will not solve the problem in the short term. This is a priority project in Irish Water capital plan and will be delivered as quickly as the planning, procurement and construction processes will allow.
Irish Water continues to advise all customers in Loughrea to continue to boil all water for drinking and food preparation to ensure they are not at risk of illness. A map and list of the affected areas is available on the Irish Water service and supply page.
Any customer with a query in relation to their water supply can also call 1890 278 278 at any time.