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Irish Water assures Dublin and Wicklow customers that supplies are ‘safe to drink’

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Irish Water at work

Irish Water at work

Irish Water at work

Irish Water has assured customers in Dublin and Wicklow that water supplies are “safe to drink”, as it continues to investigate complaints of the water smelling and tasting “earthy and musty”.

This morning, the company launched an investigation at Vartry Water Treatment Plant as some homes and businesses in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin city and north and east Co Wicklow experienced “some slight taste and odour issues” with their water.

“A small number of customers have been reporting earthy and musty tastes and odours from their water supply,” the company said.

Initial sampling and analysis of the water supply has found the water continues “to fully meet chemical and microbiological regulatory standards and is safe to drink”, but investigations into the cause of the taste and odour are continuing.

In a statement released this evening, the company said the drinking water produced at the plant receives full chlorination and ultra-violet (UV) disinfection, meaning it “does not contain any harmful bacteria, viruses, or protozoa”.

Irish Water said the output at the plant is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network. However, following the reports of “abnormal taste and odour”, it has arranged additional sampling on top of normal water quality sampling programme as a precaution and continues to keep the situation under close review.

Irish Water said the reported issues have possibly been caused by a seasonal change in raw water characteristics, and the growth of algae where the water is extracted. It said this has been identified as the cause of an “earthy taste” in previous investigations. 

"While the taste and smell can be unpleasant, drinking water with an earthy or musty taste is typically harmless. The taste and smell may be compounded due to changes in raw water characteristics caused by seasonal changes and reduced levels in the raw water supply as we move from summer to autumn,” the company said in a statement. 

Irish Water’s regional asset operations lead Kevin Love said: “Irish Water would like to reassure customers that public health is our number one priority and drinking water produced at the water treatment plant is fully compliant with statutory drinking water regulations and is safe to drink.

"The water produced at the plant is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network and additional sampling and analysis is underway to establish the root cause of the change in taste and smell.

"We will continue to keep the situation under close review until normal drinking water supply is restored. We regret any inconvenience caused.”

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