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Thirteen taken ill in water pollution scare

BUSINESSES in Co Roscommon are demanding the county council take immediate action to rectify the ongoing water problems that have left 13 people needing treatment and 10,000 more forced to boil their water.

An investigation into the source of the pollution in the Boyle and Ardcarne area is continuing. A spokesperson for the HSE West confirmed that its Public Health Department had been notified of 13 cases of stomach related illnesses as a result of cryptosporidiosis in Boyle and Roscommon. It added that all 13 were now recovering.

Roscommon County Council said it had identified the particular type of cryptosporidium as 'Parvum' which is animal related. The council has now begun farm visits around the catchment area of both sources on the Roscommon Central Water Supply Scheme.

"To date, 66 such visits have taken place. In 11 cases, poor management of effluent run-off from yards was found and follow-up actions will be carried out," it said. The council confirmed that it had also removed three dead calves from a stream which is a tributary of one of the sources for the scheme. It said the matter was now under investigation.

OUTBREAK

The county had been hit with outbreaks of cyrptosporidium in the water several times over the last few years, with the last outbreak occurring just last month.

Over 10,000 people have been affected by the latest incident and are being urged to continue boiling water for all domestic use until further notice. Jane Sufflin, Deputy Mayor of Boyle, blamed "council incompetence" for the ongoing problem.

"This has happened several times before, the last time only a month ago. The problem was supposed to be rectified, but they just plaster over it. Over the last few years, this has happened easily five times. At least twice a year, we get a notice to boil water yet again," she said.

Ms Sufflin said the constant water warnings were having an adverse effect on businesses around the town and county.

"It's having an awful effect on businesses in the town who serve food or drink. The financial burden is excessive. They are being forced to buy in huge amounts of water.

"I've also been contacted by a lot of older people who are worried about even boiling the water and fear they have to keep buying it instead," she said.

Neil Kennedy who runs the Londis store in Boyle, also said it was having a detrimental impact on all businesses in the affected areas around the county. "It's adding to our costs significantly," he said.

Irish Independent