Hundreds of farmers and owners of commercial businesses in an area of north Cork are to receive a reduction of up to 40% in their water bills as their supply in early summer was deemed unfit for consumption.
The discount is to be applied in upcoming bills from Irish Water following a 28-day boil water notice which was sanctioned in the Millstreet area on May 19.
It was issued on the advice of the HSE due to detection of low levels of cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that can cause diarrhoea in humans and animals.
The boil water notice was issued to all residents in Millstreet and adjoining townlands of Ballydaly, Laught, Drishane, and Keale. It was lifted on June 14 following installation of an ultraviolet disinfection system which kills cryptosporidium.
Irish Water confirmed to Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind) that it will apply a discount of up to 40% on the customers’ water supply component of their next bill on the grounds that boil water and drinking water restriction notices in the case of Millstreet were issued due to the supply being deemed unfit for human consumption,
In early June, Mr O’Shea wrote to Irish Water on behalf of a number of residents asking the utility company how it intended to reimburse customers left inconvenienced by the situation.
“The boil water notice had a significant effect on the business and farming community in Millstreet. As you can imagine,” he said, “it can be hard for anyone to survive without water for a day, never mind nearly a month, so I believe it is only right and proper that customers of Irish Water will have a discount for the 28 days they were without water on their next bill.”
Mr O’Shea said Irish Water customers will automatically receive the discount without the customer being further inconvenienced.
Irish Water said a 40% discount is the maximum it would allow for non-domestic customers.
Mr O’Shea said he believes it is the first time the company had planned to provide a discount to a large number of customers in Cork, although the company had said it introduced tariff discounts for non-domestic customers in October 2014.
Irish Water said non-domestic customers whose annual consumption is less than 50,000m³ will always have a 40% discount applied.
The company said it reserves the right to apply a lower discount to larger consumers, especially where they typically use a large quantity of water for industrial process purposes rather than for human consumption.
Mr O’Shea said he was not aware if people living in Minane Bridge, near Carrigaline, had been offered any discount after a water supply warning notice in recent weeks.
On July 20, a do not drink notice was issued to residents after excessive manganese was discovered in the supply.
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