Number of long-term boil notices at ‘historic low’

The number of people on a long-term boil notice has fallen by 17,000 since the start of the year and is now at “a historic low”.

According to the 2014 Drinking Water Report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are now 6,000 people on a long-term boil notice — down from 23,000 earlier this year.

The reduction came about through prioritising investment in “at risk” supplies.

The report found there are currently 112 “at risk” supplies on the EPA’s remedial action list. Of these, 30 lack adequate treatment to prevent cryptosporidium entering the supply.

A total of 30 of the 112 on the list are in Kerry alone.

In terms of the drinking water supply, the EPA found 99.9% of samples comply with the microbiological standards and 99.4% of samples comply with the chemical standards.

E.coli was detected at least once in eight supplies, down two on 2013. It was detected at least once in 76 small private supplies and 24 private group water schemes.

The EPA report said that comprehensive national strategies will be necessary to address key priorities such as disinfection, disinfection by-products, lead, pesticides, and water safety planning.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, Gerard O’Leary, said more work needs to be done to eliminate the threat of long-term boil notices.

“The number of consumers that are served by water supplies subject to a boil water notice has reduced from over 23,000 consumers to fewer than 8,000 currently.

“This reduction is due to prioritising investment in key ‘at risk’ supplies in Roscommon and other vulnerable areas in 2015.

“Despite this welcome, large reduction in boil water notices, Irish Water needs to press ahead now with remedial works on the outstanding 16 public-water supplies so that the threat of long-term boil water notices is eliminated.”

The programme manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, David Flynn, said that Kerry was an area of particular concern

“The EPA remedial action list identifies 112 supplies — serving 770,000 consumers — that are in need of improvement to ensure the safety and security of these supplies,” Mr Flynn said.

“Thirty supplies on the remedial action list are in Co Kerry alone. Overall, the pace of investment in water treatment must continue to increase so that we eliminate the risk of cryptosporidium and the risk of long-term boil water notices.”


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