30 April 2021 Go back to News
Safer drinking water for 63,000 people in Mayo
Since the establishment of Irish Water in 2014, over 63,000 water customers in County Mayo have benefitted from improvements to the most vulnerable drinking water treatment plants across the county. The benefits of these works to local communities is far reaching ensuring compliance with Drinking Water Quality Regulations, improved water quality and water treatment standards.
Irish Water working in partnership with its Local Authority partner Mayo County Council is working hard to prioritise investment in the county. Essential upgrade works have been undertaken at a significant number of public water supply schemes in Mayo including Ballina, Ballina – Lisglennon, Bonniconlon, Doocastle/Cloontia, Inishturk, Kilmaine, Kiltimagh, Lough Mask and Ballycastle. Successful completion of these works facilitated the removal of these schemes from the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL). The RAL identifies drinking water supplies that are at risk of failing to consistently supply safe, clean drinking water.
Speaking about the works completed to date in Mayo, Ger Greally says: “Irish Water is committed to ensuring that all our customers have safe, clean drinking water. This is a significant challenge, but we are making steady progress. Since 2014, nine drinking water supplies have been removed from the RAL, which equates to improved drinking water quality for 63,000 people in Mayo.”
Ger continued: “We have also improved treatment processes at 22 drinking water plants in Mayo as part of the National Disinfection Programme. Our number one priority continues to be the provision of safe and secure drinking water to our customers. By implementing the National Disinfection Programme, we have improved disinfection systems and standards, future-proofed the security of supplies, provided improved control of the systems and most importantly ensured continued compliance with Drinking Water Quality Regulations.”
The National Disinfection Programme has been successfully completed at 22 sites in Mayo. These works were delivered by Glan Agua Limited on behalf of Irish Water at Westport (Knappagh), Ballinrobe, Inishturk, Clare Island, Achill, Kiltimagh, Ballina Wherrew, Foxford, Kilkelly, Louisburgh, Boniconlon, Ceide Fields, Charlestown, Crossmolina, Swinford, Erris, Mulranny, Knock Airport, Newport, Ballina Lisglennon, Tallagh Towers and Attavally (Bangor) Reservoir.
Reflecting on the successful works completed to date and the size and scale of the challenges facing the water industry in Mayo, Ger noted: “The provision of safe and secure drinking water to all of our customers is a service that requires attention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are cognisant that there is one drinking water supply still on the RAL in Mayo. The Newport Water Supply Scheme has had detections of pesticides in the drinking water supply since 2019 and we will continue to work with Mayo County Council and the local community to improve this issue as a priority.”
Dr Pat O’Sullivan, a scientist with Irish Water spoke about the challenges facing drinking water quality in the Newport catchment. Pat says: “The Newport water supply abstracts raw water from the Newport River, which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the Newport catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.”
Pat continued: “While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.”
Irish Water in partnership with Mayo County Council will continue to seek help from the public on reducing pesticide detections in Newport water supply, with a view to having it removed from the RAL as soon as possible.
As a single national utility Irish Water has been able to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of Ireland’s drinking water treatment plants and focus investment where the risk to our customers is highest. Nationally Irish Water plans to invest €5.2 billion in drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure between 2020 and 2024. Significant improvements in water quality are being achieved year on year by this approach right across the country.
Irish Water have been working closely with our local authority partners and contractors during COVID-19 to ensure the delivery of water and wastewater services as a priority. We would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.