Works continue to manage intermittent discoloration issues impacting areas of Cork city

08 December 2022

Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council thank the public for their patience.

Uisce Éireann, in partnership with Cork City Council, is progressing works to manage intermittent discoloration issues impacting the water supply in some areas of Cork City. 

Ongoing testing and analysis of the water supply continues in conjunction with extensive monitoring across the city’s distribution network ensuring the water is compliant with drinking water regulations and is safe to drink. The results of these tests have been shared with the EPA and the HSE. 

In Ireland, drinking water can pass through several kilometres of pipework before it reaches homes and businesses. Some of this pipework is constructed from cast iron and, depending on the area, can be up to 100 years old. Old cast iron mains typically suffer from sediment being dislodged during repair or maintenance works, causing temporary discolouration of the water or the water appearing brown before it reaches customers' taps. With the change in weather conditions recently, there has been an increase in bursts and outages which has slightly exacerbated the issue of discoloured water in Cork city. Usually running the tap for several minutes will restore the clear colour. Uisce Éireann advises customers not to drink discoloured water until it clears.

Most of the time, drinking water passes over this sediment unchanged. However, changes in flow, pressure or direction can dislodge this sediment and carry it through to your tap. This can cause your water to appear brown or orange and is more likely to occur when repair or maintenance works are being carried out on public water mains.

Operations Lead for Uisce Éireann, Niall O’Riordan said: “Safeguarding the water supply in Cork city and protecting public health is a top priority for Uisce Éireann and we would like to reassure customers that the water supply serving Cork city is safe to drink. We understand the concerns raised by some customers concerning the colour of their drinking water and acknowledge the disruption and inconvenience caused as we continue to upgrade and improve the water supply. As a precaution, we have increased testing on the water supply and are keeping the situation under close review."

Extensive upgrade and improvement works to the water supply continue across Cork city, all of which can result in some short-term discoloration. It is not ideal, but it is a common occurrence throughout the country, particularly for us in Cork city as parts of the network are over 100 years old." 

I would like to thank customers who have been impacted by the discolouration issues and appreciate your patience as we work hard to ensure a continued high standard of water quality in Cork city."

Customers with queries or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should contact the Uisce Éireann customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter @IWCare. A dedicated section on discoloration with helpful information and advice can be found on our website.

Uisce Éireann is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.

Previous Updates

Uisce Éireann, in partnership with Cork City Council, continues to progress works to manage intermittent discoloration issues impacting the water supply in some areas of Cork City. 

Ongoing testing and analysis of the water supply continues in conjunction with extensive monitoring across the cities distribution network ensuring the water is compliant with drinking water regulations and is safe to drink. The results of these test have been shared with the EPA and the HSE. 

In Ireland, drinking water can pass through several kilometres of pipework before it reaches homes and businesses. Some of this pipework is constructed from cast iron and, depending on the area, can be up to 100 years old. Old cast iron mains typically suffer from sediment being dislodged during repair or maintenance works, causing temporary discolouration of the water / the water to appear brown before it reaches customers' taps. Usually running the tap for several minutes will restore the clear colour. Uisce Éireann would advise customers not to drink discoloured water.

Most of the time, drinking water passes over this sediment unchanged. However, changes in flow, pressure or direction can dislodge this sediment and carry it through to your tap. This can cause your water to appear brown or orange and is more likely to occur when repair or maintenance works are being carried out on public water mains.

Safeguarding the water supply in Cork City and protecting public health is a top priority for Uisce Éireann and we would like to reassure customers that the water supply serving Cork City is safe to drink. We understand the concerns raised by some customers concerning the colour of their drinking water and acknowledge the disruption and inconvenience caused as we continue to upgrade and improve the water supply. As a precaution, we have increased testing on the water supply and are keeping the situation under close review.

Extensive upgrade and improvement works to the water supply continue across Cork City, all of which can result in some short-term discoloration. It is not ideal, but it is a common occurrence throughout the country, particularly for us in Cork City as parts of the network are over 100 years old.  

We would like to thank customers who have been impacted by the discolouration issues and appreciate your patience as we work hard to ensure a continued high standard of water quality in Cork City.

Customers with queries or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should contact the Uisce Éireann customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter @IWCare. A dedicated section on discoloration with helpful information and advice can be found on our website.

Uisce Éireann is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.

Uisce Éireann is continuing to investigate intermittent customer complaints regarding some discolouration of water. We have carried out extensive testing and sampling of water supplies throughout Cork city.  The results of this testing have been shared with the EPA and the HSE and we can confirm that the water is safe to drink. Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council continuously test and sample water supplies across the city

A programme of network flushing is underway to address any remaining localised discolouration issues. Whenever the mains are flushed there is a visible colour in the water for a period of time post flushing. As advised, customer should not drink discoloured water. Any customers who have queries or concerns in relation to discolouration should contact Uisce Éireann directly at 1800 278 278. All reports will be followed up and investigated.

If water from your kitchen tap looks orange or brown, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council recommend running the kitchen tap for a few minutes to see if the water returns to a clear colour. If the water does not run clear, contact Uisce Éireann Customer Care Team 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and it will be investigated. Do not drink discoloured water.

Uisce Éireann are actively making interventions to resolve issues as they arise and would encourage customers to continue to report issues with drinking water. Uisce Éireann would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused as we progress with upgrades to the water supply in Cork.

Last month, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council became aware of an increase in reports of discoloured water in some areas of Cork City.

Investigations were carried out at the time in the affected areas to identify the source of these water issues and remedial actions were carried out. The investigations found that following a recent upgrade of infrastructure in Cork city, where a number of new treatment systems are being brought online, that water being produced was impacting on some of the older pipes in the network, thus causing sediment to come loose and cause a discolouration of the water being supplied to customers. We are actively working to adapt the process to ensure that the sediment does not break down and cause the discolouration.

The issue is being continuously monitored, however, approximately two weeks ago, there was an increase in reports of discoloration in the network. Further remedial work and alterations were carried out on Friday, 16th of September and this has already shown an improvement to the water supply. Some customers may still experience discolouration periodically but we anticipate this improvement to continue over the coming days as the changes embed in the network.

Water leaving Uisce Éireann’s treatment plants is continuously tested to ensure it meets all drinking water standards. Water is also regularly tested at customer delivery points to ensure the highest standards are met.

If water from your kitchen tap looks orange or brown, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council recommend running the kitchen tap for a few minutes to see if the water returns to a clear colour. If the water does not run clear, contact Uisce Éireann Customer Care Team 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and it will be investigated. Do not drink discoloured water.

Uisce Éireann are actively making interventions to resolve issues as they arise and would encourage customers to continue to report issues with drinking water. Uisce Éireann would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused as we progress with upgrades to the water supply in Cork.

Last month, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council became aware of an increase in reports of discoloured water in some areas of Cork City.

Investigations were carried out at the time in the affected areas to identify the source of these water issues and remedial actions were carried out.

Uisce Éireann has again been made aware of reports of ongoing issues of discoloration in the network. Further remedial work and alterations were carried out on Friday, 16th of September and this has already shown an improvement to the water supply. Some customers may still experience discolouration periodically but we anticipate that there will be improvement over the coming days as the changes embed in the network.

Water leaving Uisce Éireann’s treatment plants is continuously tested to ensure it meets all drinking water standards. Water is also regularly tested at customer delivery points to ensure the highest standards are met.

If water from your kitchen tap looks orange or brown, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council recommend running the kitchen tap for a few minutes to see if the water returns to a clear colour. If the water does not run clear, contact Uisce Éireann Customer Care Team 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and it will be investigated. Do not drink discoloured water.

Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council recently became aware of an increase in reports of discoloured water and water quality issues in some areas of Cork City.

Investigations were carried out in the affected areas to identify the source of these water issues and remedial actions were carried out, and are still being actioned. While most areas water supply has returned to normal, some areas may still be experiencing discoloured water.

Water leaving Uisce Éireann’s treatment plants is continuously tested to ensure it meets all drinking water standards. Water is also regularly tested at customer delivery points to ensure the highest standards are met.

If water from your kitchen tap looks orange or brown, Uisce Éireann and Cork City Council recommend running the kitchen tap for a few minutes to see if the water returns to a clear colour. If the water does not run clear, contact Uisce Éireann Customer Care Team 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and it will be investigated. Do not drink discoloured water.