Audit found serious deficiencies in Cavan water scheme

Audit found serious deficiencies in Cavan water scheme
As a result of the audit, the HSE issued a ‘Do Not Consume’ notice for drinking water from the Bailieborough scheme on December 13.

Deficiencies in a large public water scheme in Cavan last year were not notified to the authorities which would have allowed them to assess the risk to public health, according to an environmental watchdog.

An audit by the Environmental Protection Agency on December 12 found “serious deficiencies regarding management and control” of the regional water supply scheme in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, including a lack of automatic plant shutdowns and callout alarms for turbidity in the water.

The audit team found the water was brown in colour while there was a lack of automated chemical dosing to respond to changes in raw water quality and deficiencies in the filter backwash process.

The scheme provides supplies of drinking water, sourced from Skeagh Lough, to almost 7,800 customers in Co Cavan including in Bailieborough, Mullagh, Virginia, and Killinkere.

As a result of the audit, the HSE issued a ‘Do Not Consume’ notice for drinking water from the Bailieborough on December 13 with Irish Water distributing water to consumers via tankers.

It was lifted 10 days later after the authorities were satisfied that water quality had been restored and adequate treatment plant systems and controls were in place.

The EPA said an upgrade to the plant was due to be completed by the end of March 2019 but the works had not progressed and no date for when they would take place could be provided.

The watchdog said it had not been notified of excessive levels of manganese in the water sourced for the scheme between October 9 and December 1 last year.

Although not toxic, high levels of the mineral in drinking water can result in bad tasting water and staining.

The maximum level of manganese recorded in the Bailieborough supply was approximately seven times the recommended limit.

“Cavan County Council did not report the plant deficiencies and water quality failures to Irish Water and the HSE when these occurred,” the EPA said.

It added: “This action prevented the HSE in determining the potential risk to human health posed to those consumers on the water supply in a timely manner.”

The EPA said the presence of manganese in drinking water supplies had implications for other metals of concern such as the release of lead, arsenic, nickel, chromium and iron.

The EPA said Irish Water had stated in writing in September 2018 that plant upgrade works at Bailieborough were at an advanced stage and due for completion by the first quarter of 2019.

“The auditors found that these proposed works had not commenced on site,” the EPA noted.

Irish Water said it had complied with a direction issued by the EPA under EU regulations to install an alarm for turbidity and chlorine in the supply which had been completed by January.

More on this topic

Leak losses unacceptable 'by any measure': water advisory bodyLeak losses unacceptable 'by any measure': water advisory body

Anger at postponement of Kilcummin sewerage schemeAnger at postponement of Kilcummin sewerage scheme

Bacteria which causes kidney failure found in 62 private water suppliesBacteria which causes kidney failure found in 62 private water supplies

Book reveals former finance minister opposed water meters but was overruled by Enda KennyBook reveals former finance minister opposed water meters but was overruled by Enda Kenny


More in this Section

Warning issued to dog owners as weather set to heat upWarning issued to dog owners as weather set to heat up

Transport authority to install hand sanitiser across fleets for passengersTransport authority to install hand sanitiser across fleets for passengers

O'Sullivan has yet to decide who to back in Green Party leadership contestO'Sullivan has yet to decide who to back in Green Party leadership contest

Gardaí very concerned for welfare man, 75 missing in DublinGardaí very concerned for welfare man, 75 missing in Dublin


Lifestyle

Struggling to stick to your work routine at home? You’re not alone.10 tips for greater productivity working from home

Relaxing the rules at home has helped Karen Koster and her young family to get through lockdown, says Helen O'CallaghanEasy does it: Relaxing home rules the 'perfect tonic for kids'

The penultimate instalment of Normal People, and a Champions League goal-fest are among today's top picksTuesday TV Highlights: The penultimate instalment of Normal People and a Champions League goal-fest

More From The Irish Examiner