65,000 told to boil tap water 'as a precaution'
Some 65,000 people across Wicklow and south Dublin will be forced to boil their drinking water until at least tomorrow.
The HSE has imposed a boil water notice as a "precautionary measures" after a mechanical failure of a chlorine booster at the Vartry Water Treatment Plant early yesterday morning.
The notice applies to towns including Bray and Greystones and villages of Newtownmountkennedy, Kilcoole, Kilquade and Kilpedder in Wicklow. Newcastle Hospital is also affected.
In Dublin, affected areas across Dún Laoghaire Rathdown include Corke Abbey, Woodbrook Glen, Old Connaught Avenue, Thornhill Road, Ballyman Road, and the Dublin Road from the junction of Old Connaught Avenue to Allies River Road.
The notice will not be lifted until health authorities are satisfied that water is adequately treated.
The utility said it could "potentially" be tomorrow before tap water is safe to drink.
"The boil water notice has been put in place as a precautionary measure to protect approximately 65,000 people served by this supply following the mechanical failure of the chlorine booster at the plant," Irish Water said in a statement.
"All water treatment at the plant must have adequate chlorine levels added to the water to make it safe to drink."
Chlorine dosing on the supply is under way, and a water sampling programme has been put in place to test quality in the affected areas.
"In the meantime, all customers of this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice", it added.
Irish Water was recently granted planning permission to upgrade the Vartry water treatment plant, which is more than 150 years old.
Works are due to begin later this year and will take two years to complete.
The company said water must be boiled before drinking, washing foods, brushing teeth or making ice.
It also advised people to use water ready for drinking (ie, boiled and cooled) when preparing foods that will not be cooked, like salads.
While water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets, it should not be used for brushing teeth or gargling.
Irish Water also warned that great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children in the home.