Notice follows a meeting with the HSE on Friday 28 September

Irish Water, working in partnership with Sligo County Council, would like to advise customers supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply, that the boil water notice issued on the supply on February 5 2018 has been extended until further notice following a meeting with the HSE on Friday, September 28.

The notice was issued due to detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the Lough Talt water treatment plant following routine compliance sampling. Recently there were further detections of cryptosporidium in the water following over 20 weeks of clear sampling. The HSE also investigated a number of cases of cryptosporidiosis in the water supply area during the period the BWN has been in place. 

The HSE have indicated that the criteria for lifting this notice are zero detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the treatment plant together with a coinciding period of no reported illnesses in the community in the absence of a validated crypto barrier at the treatment plant. To date there has been no coinciding period where zero detections and investigations of illness were recorded. 

Please continue to boil water before use

Sampling will continue weekly and will be reviewed again by Irish Water, Sligo County Council and the HSE at the end of October. In the meantime customers are urged to continue boiling water before consumption.

To progress a solution for this scheme, we lodged a planning application on 28 May 2018 to Sligo County Council for essential, emergency upgrade works at the Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant to ensure a secure, clean, safe drinking water supply for the people of the area who have been on a boil water notice since February 5. 

As is common practice in the planning process, Sligo County Council sought further information from Irish Water on July 19 to assist them in making a decision on this application.

We are engaging with our stakeholders in what is an incredibly complex process due to local environmental constraints and every stakeholder wants to ensure that the right outcome is achieved. We are currently completing the report as requested under the request for further information and aims to provide a response to Sligo County Council in November. It remains an absolute priority of us to ensure this project is delivered successfully for the customers who receive their water from the Lough Talt public water supply.

EPA's Remedial Action List

The Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant is currently on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL) for both cryptosporidium and Trihalomethane (THM) risk. The level of treatment currently provided at the Lough Talt water treatment plant does not provide adequate protection against cryptosporidium. Irish Water is advising customers that in the absence of a validated cryptosporidium barrier there is a risk of further cryptosporidium detections in the supply. 

The proposed development, if granted planning permission, will provide an effective cryptosporidium barrier and will mitigate against the formation of THMs. However, we acknowledge that the long term solution will be an alternative water source to supply Tubbercurry and surrounding areas, and therefore we envisage that the proposed Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant upgrade works will be in place for up to 10 years.

Water Services Policy Statement 

We will be writing to homes and businesses on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply Scheme about their water quality and the work being carried out to improve it. 

This is part of a wider communication being undertaken by Irish Water in response to the recent Water Services Policy Statement which called for better engagement and greater transparency for people using public water supplies. This direct communication is an important part of helping the public to understand what we do.

Homes and businesses in 16 counties across the country on 55 different water supply schemes will receive a detailed booklet outlining the issues with their water supply which might vary from elevated THMs, inadequate barriers for cryptosporidium, poor turbidity removal, presence of low levels of pesticides, or details of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit of a plant.

Homes and business on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply will receive a letter to explain to them the issues affecting their water supply, namely cryptosporidium (the reason for the Boil Water Notice) and elevated levels of THMs, along with details of what Irish Water is doing to resolve this.  

European Drinking Water Regulations

We egularly test all public water supplies against a range of standards set out in the European Drinking Water Regulations. These standards are based on guidelines prepared by the World Health Organisation (WHO). If a drinking water sample shows a result above a specified water quality standard, we report it immediately to the environmental regulator, the EPA. The EPA supervises public water schemes and Irish Water. If there is a concern about a possible health risk, we also consult the HSE. Cryptosporodium is the reason for the current Boil Water Notice on the Lough Talt scheme. 

Speaking about the nationwide public information campaign, Irish Water’s Water Compliance Specialist Dr Pat O’Sullivan said “Irish Water has worked closely with the EPA to identify the public water schemes that need a plan or action to improve their water treatment. We are prioritising our investment in these treatment plants. Providing safe, clean drinking water for all on the Lough Talt Regional Water Supply is our first goal.

“We monitor and test our supplies on a continuous basis and if this monitoring indicates a potential water quality issue we consult with the HSE. If there is any potential risk to public health from the drinking water supply we inform the public immediately. If anyone has any questions or concerns they should contact Irish Water.”

More information

If members of the public have any questions that are not covered in the booklet please phone us on Callsave 1850 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Source : Irish Water Website

Map of the Lough Talt and Ogham Schemes (PDF) - 797 kbs  PDF

Irish Water and Sligo County Council sincerely apologise to all customers for any inconvenience caused by this Boil Water Notice.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice
  • Discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.

What actions should be taken:

  • Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads).
  • Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling.
  • Boil water by bringing to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool. Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place. Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink. Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink.
  • Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water.
  • Prepare infant feeds with water that has been brought to the boil once and cooled. Do not use water that has been re-boiled several times. Bottled water can be used to make up infant formula. All bottled water, with the exception of natural mineral water, is regulated to the same standard as drinking water. It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals, although it rarely does. ‘Natural Mineral Water’ can be used if no other water is available, for as short a time as possible, as it is important to keep babies hydrated. If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute), and cooled in the normal way.

Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner and provide a stool sample for testing. They should continue to drink plenty of boiled or bottled water.

Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

Further information and additional advice for customers is available on www.water.ie or by calling 1850 278 278. 

 

  

Boil Notice on Lough Talt Public Water Supply

Boil Notice on Lough Talt Public Water Supply

It has come to the attention of Irish Water and Sligo County Council that the water supply served by the Lough Talt Public Water Supply is contaminated with cryptosporidium. Following consultation with the Health Service Executive, Irish Water and Sligo County Council are issuing a Boil Water Notice with immediate effect to protect the health of consumers.

This notice applies to all consumers on the Lough Talt Public Water Supply and consumers on the Ogham water scheme which is served from the Lough Talt supply.  All customers must boil their water before drinking. A map of the Lough Talt and Ogham schemes, detailing the areas affected, is available below:

Map of the Lough Talt and Ogham schemes (PDF) - 797 kbs  PDF

Areas

All persons served by the Lough Talt Public Water Supply and the Ogham group water scheme. This includes for the following district metered areas in County Sligo;

  • Curry,
  • Killoran,
  • Carrowcushely,
  • Glenn-Kinnagrelly,
  • Carrownacarrick,
  • Kilmacteige,
  • Bellahy,
  • Achonry,
  • Talt-Castleoye Trunk,
  • Aclare,
  • Tobercurry,
  • Kesh,
  • Achonry-Ballymote Trunk,
  • Moylough,
  • Templehouse,
  • Ballymote,
  • Muckelty,
  • Rockfield,
  • Annagh,
  • Oldrock,
  • Cloonacool,
  • Quaryfield,
  • Banada,
  • Killavel,
  • Branchfield-Collooney

This notice also applies to the following district metered areas in County Mayo;

  • Cloontia,
  • QuarryField,
  • Doocastle,

 

Actions to be undertaken by all consumers on this Boil Wwater Notice.

  1. Water must be boiled for:
    • Drinking
    • Drinks made with water
    • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
    • Brushing of teeth
    • Making of ice
    • Discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.
  2. Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads).
  3. Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling.
  4. Boil water by bringing to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool. Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place. Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink. Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink.
  5. Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water.
  6. Where a Boil Water Notice is in place, you can prepare infant formula from tap water that has been boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute) and cooled beforehand. Bottled water can also be used to make up infant formula. All bottled water, with the exception of natural mineral water, is regulated to the same standard as drinking water. It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals, although it rarely does. ‘Natural Mineral Water’ can be used if no other water is available, for as short a time as possible, as it is important to keep babies hydrated. If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute), and cooled in the normal way. Ready-to-use formula that does not need added water can also be used.
  7. Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner and provide a stool sample for testing. They should continue to drink plenty of boiled or bottled water.

Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

 

What is Cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that is found mainly in the faeces of infected humans or animals. Humans are infected when they swallow contaminated water or food, or touch contaminated objects and then touch their mouths before washing their hands well.

What are the symptoms?

Diarrhoea that lasts 1 to 2 weeks, often accompanied by abdominal cramps, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and low grade fever. People usually develop symptoms 1 to 12 days after swallowing the parasite. If you are worried contact your GP.

What can I do to prevent getting it? 

Use boiled water for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making ice

Wash your hands carefully after going to the toilet, changing nappies, and before preparing food.

Be careful when bathing small children to ensure that they do not swallow any bath water. 

As Cryptosporidium can be passed from animals to humans, ensure that you and your children always wash your hands after handling any animals (including pets) or after visiting a farm. 

Do not drink unpasteurised milk.

Who is most at risk?

Persons with an impaired immune system, young children and older people are most at risk of picking up Cryptosporidium.

How long before the boil water notice can be lifted?

We do not know at present, but Irish Water will continue to liaise with the Health Service Executive with a view to lifting the Boil Water Notice as soon as practicable.

How will we keep you informed?

You will be kept informed through the following media:

Website: www.water.ie ; www.sligococo.ie

Irish Water Customer Contact Centre: 1890 278 278

Local Media:  Ocean FM, Mid West Radio, Sligo Champion, Sligo Weekender, Western People, Connaught Telegraph, Mayo News and Mayo Advertiser.

(IW registered vulnerable customers will be directly contacted)

Awareness for commercial premises

Irish water request that this Boil Water Notice is placed in a prominent position within your commercial premises

Remember to boil water as advised until further notice

This notice only applies to those on the Lough Talt Public Water Supply Scheme and the associated group water scheme.

 

Seamus Granahan
Regional Manager
Irish Water

Tom Kilfeather
Director of Services
Sligo County Council