The suggestion from Michael Hegarty (FG) comes after Irish Water said the precautionary boil water notice on the Whitegate/Dower rural water supply scheme must remain in place for a further six to eight months.
It said heavy rainfall over winter has led to high turbidity, or cloudiness, in the water supplying the water-treatment plant. It said if the turbidity of the water entering the plant is above an allowable level, the plant “automatically shuts down as full treatment can not be guaranteed”.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting of Cork County Council, Mr Hegarty said Irish Water should explain what risks are associated with the water and lift the lengthy notice if it is precautionary rather than due to a specific, identified threat.
“I would be calling on Irish Water to lift the boil water forthwith. There is more than ample ultraviolet treatment both at source and at the reservoir,” he said.
“The inconvenience that this is causing both domestic and non-domestic consumers is frightening. We’re coming into a tourist season and the amount of businesses affected is quite alarming. I think it is unnecessary to have Irish Water issue this precautionary boil water notice.”
Mr Hegarty said an Irish Water representative should address the council on the matter. His motion found favour with other councillors in the area. Cllr Noel Collins (Ind) said councillors were told “little or nothing of the source of the problem”: “What is the source of the pollution in Whitegate that necessitates the boiling of drinking water?”
Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley (Ind) said the length of the notice was unacceptable: “Some people are saying November, that’s seven or eight months of people living with boil water notices. I don’t think that’s good enough. What exactly is causing this?”
Cllr Susan McCarthy (FG) said Irish Water told her no bugs had been identified, and while she welcomed that, she felt the length of notice is excessive: “If you pay for a service it has to be delivered. That needs to be looked at. Six to eight months is just not sustainable,” she said.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy (Ind) questioned how Irish Water could issue a boil water notice due to ‘cloudiness’ of water when he is aware of areas of Cobh where there are no such warnings despite brown water emerging from taps.