Thursday 14 November 2019

'We can't rule it out' - Irish Water say another boil water notice is likely

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

IRISH Water has said the possibility of another boil notice is likely after over 600,000 received two warnings in just one fortnight.

Health and environmental inspectors will carry out a second full audit at the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant this morning to find solutions to the problems that have affected over 600,000 people in large areas of Dublin, Kildare and Meath since Monday.

The third round of daily sampling from water at the plant today will determine whether the go-ahead to lift the notice would be given.

However, managing director of Irish Water, Niall Gleeson said because of already existing issues at the plant, he cannot "rule out" the possibility of another boil water notice being issued over the coming winter months.

"Given the conditions of the plant and what we're seeing now, there is a possibility of another boil water notice. We have our engineers on site, we're looking at the plant and getting it back in service this week, but also looking at the longer term, can we add functionality to the plant to help it ride through these storms and bring it back online when these storms have passed.

"We're doing everything we can to give more confidence around the plant, but I can't rule out another boil water notice, unfortunately,"  he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Mr Gleeson said while the plant is now supplying a water supply of satisfactory quality, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the HSE will inspect whether or not the plant will be able to provide a safe supply consistently.

"We know we have the issue with the plant last weekend, we had to restart the plant which creates difficulties in the plant so the water quality wasn't where we need it to be. It has stabilised, and last night with the heavy rain it had managed to cope with hire turbidity levels in the supply water - the Liffey water.

"It is performing quite well, we had to manage it very intensely last night to get through that. Today we have the EPA on site with the HSE, our own engineers, our Fingal engineers are on site as well. We've made quite a few improvements to the plant during the week," he continued.

"We have taken a lot of data on how the plant has been operating this week and that's what the EPA will be looking at along with the two satisfactory samples that we have from the water."

Irish Water has previously blamed the heavy rain last weekend for the latest notice. An increase of cloudiness, or turbidity, of the water gave rise to concerns parasites cryptosporidiosis or giardiasis were contaminating the supply.

Old filters at the Leixlip plant have been struggling to strain out all the dirt, sediment and potential parasites it may contain.

Mr Gleeson said: "Right now the plant is delivering the water to the quality that we need, but the EPA and HSE will need to see that we can consistently deliver that quality and they need to look at the historical records as to how the plant has performed during the week.

"We have our engineers working on the site all week.

"We've had challenges on that site as I've said before. We have issues with the filter beds, which we are upgrading at the moment. As I said, it's difficult to upgrade them while we're trying to deliver the capacity of water that plant delivers," he added.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News