Friday 20 April 2018

Mum-of-four's fears after chlorine 'caused daughter to break out in rash'

Dipti O’Reilly and Grainne Murtagh pictured in Kilcloon, Co Meath where the water is subject to above normal levels of chlorine. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Dipti O’Reilly and Grainne Murtagh pictured in Kilcloon, Co Meath where the water is subject to above normal levels of chlorine. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ryan Nugent

A Meath mother-of-four fears contaminated water caused her daughter to break out in a rash.

Last night, more than 1,000 homes in the south Meath area were informed by Irish Water that a ban imposed earlier in the day had been lifted.

The households had been warned against drinking, washing or preparing foods with their tap water amid high chlorine levels in the water.

The company said it was notified of the water issues on Monday evening and carried out tests.

Grainne Murtagh, from Kilcloon, who has four children under the age of six, told the Irish Independent both her daughter (5) and husband have experienced ill-health, which she fears is due to the high chlorine intake.

"Last Sunday my husband had said to me that there was a chemical smell off the water," Ms Murtagh said. "My husband was very sick that night, then my daughter had been complaining of tummy aches and she developed a rash on her face and around her mouth," she added.

Ms Murtagh said she didn't attend the GP because of advice to remain at home and stay hydrated if experiencing illnesses such as stomach bugs, so as not to spread it further.

"We're now realising we were treating members of our family with the very thing that was causing them to be ill," she said.

She added that while cream prescribed by the local GP seems to have calmed the rash on her daughter, she is still feeling unwell.

"I got a call from the school at 12.30 today to ask for someone to collect her because she was complaining of stomach cramps, which she has been most nights this week," Ms Murtagh said.

The family have also had to throw out all the pre-made meals made for their infant son at the beginning of the week.

However, homes are now beginning to return to normal. A statement by Irish Water last night said it carried out a flushing of the water network with Meath County Council following the complaints.

"We liaised continually with the HSE to keep them informed of our on-going sampling results. It was only when the HSE was fully confident that the water was once again safe to use that they advised us to lift the notice," a statement read.

"Our investigations have indicated that an operational failure on a chlorine booster caused a very gradual over-chlorination of the water. This over-chlorination built gradually to the point where customers could smell the excess and told us that they were feeling unwell," it added.

Irish Independent

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