Irish Water hopes to lift boil-water notice in days

Irish Water says it is hopeful that a boil water notice issued in East Cork can be lifted within days.

The utility imposed the warning on the 10,000 people served by the Whitegate Regional Water Supply Scheme at the weekend, and the notice affects households in Midleton South East, Ballynacorra, Cloyne, Aghada, Whitegate, Ballycotton, Churchstown, Trabolgan and surrounding rural areas.

Conor Foley, Irish Water's drinking water operations engineer for the Southern Region, said that the scheme affected will be subject to increased monitoring and control over next few days with a view to lifting the notice as soon as possible.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the increased rainfall over the winter exposed ‘a vulnerability’ in the source that the utility was previously unaware of.

“We’ve experienced an unprecedented and record amount of rainfall over the winter months and in fact we’ve had nine winter storms since November, so it’s been an extremely wet winter,” Mr Foley said.

“The unprecedented level of rainfall has highlighted a vulnerability in the source of the Whitegate supply which previously was not evident to IrishWater or previously to the local authority. 

We had further heavy rainfall on Saturday which caused discolouration again to the source and created difficulties in our water treatment processes,” Mr Foley said.

The utility issued the boil water notice having consulted with the HSE.

“Obviously public health is Irish Water’s top priority, and if there’s any issue with water treatment we immediately consult with the Health Service Executive to get advice on public health,” he said.

“We sought advice on Saturday from the HSE and it was decided then to initiate this boil water notice as a precautionary measure.” However, Mr Foley said that while the notice was only precautionary, he warned thatIrish Water “couldn’t be confident that the supply was fully protected”.

Householders in the areas affected are advised to boil all water for drinking, food preparation, brushing of teeth and making of ice until further notice. Irish Water said the supply can be used as normal personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets.

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