Local authority under fire over 5-month-long boil water notice

Cork County Council has been accused of not doing enough to help 23 householders who have had to boil their drinking water for the past five months.

In late September last, the local authority discovered that a water scheme supplying householders at Gortnaskehy at Araglin was contaminated with E coli bacteria.

After consulting with the HSE, the council issued a boil water notice which remains in place.

Several of the families with young children make a daily trudge to neighbouring areas in the greater Mitchelstown area to collect drinking water as the council refused to provide a tanker supply.

Mother-of-four Paula O’Donovan said she draws water every day, especially to wash teeth and prepare food for her children, one of whom is just five months old.

Ms O’Donovan, a nurse, said: “If this happened in a town or village it would have been sorted out long ago.”

Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe, FF, said the council “was not active enough in finding a solution to a serious health issue”.

The council said the water was treated with chlorine and complied with drinking water standards but it had issued the boil water notice as a precaution.

It was then decided to drill a new water well but the new supply was described as inadequate in terms of quality and quantity. Engineers have now decided to use ultraviolet light treatment on the source as a second level of disinfection. The council will have to get three consecutive clear test results before it can lift the boil notice.

The council has also applied for funding to drill a new water source.

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