Parasite found in drinking water
Nearly all of South Sligo affected after parasite is found in Lough Talt supply
Some 13,000 households in the south of the county have been told to boil their water after Cryptosporidium was found in the supply.
The parasite can cause diarrhoea but householders hoping for a quick resolution will be disappointed as Irish Water say if further positive results for cryptosporidium are confirmed it is likely that the Boil Water Notice would be extended until additional treatment process barriers are put in place. This will involve the construction of new water treatment plant for which planning permission will be required.
"In the event that planning permission is successful Irish Water would expect to begin construction on a site by early 2019 and have a fully functioning plant by early to mid-2020. In view of this timetable Irish Water is looking at what further measures it might be able to take in the interim that might be able to address the cryptosporidium risk in consultation with the HSE and the EPA," said a spokesperson for Irish Water.
The towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and a large rural hinterland including the villages of Annagh, Aclare, Curry, Charlestown, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow Carroweden, Kilmacteige and Coolaney are affected.
The boil notice comes following the detection of cryptosporidium in the treated water coming from the Lough Talt plant after a routine test.
Irish Water is liaising with the HSE and an incident management team has been set up to give full attention to this incident.
Householders are being advised that water must be boiled for: Drinking; drinks made with water; preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating; brushing of teeth; making of ice, to discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges and to make ice from cooled boiled water.
Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner. They should continue to drink plenty of boiled or bottled water.
Irish Water say it recognised in 2014 that the Lough Talt supply needed more advanced treatment to meet both risk of Cryptosporidium contamination and compliance with the specified limits for Trihalomethanes (THMs).
In July 2015 Irish Water lodged a planning application with Sligo County Council which was refused on the basis of the conservation of Lough Talt for reasons of protected habitat. An Bord Pleanála also refused the application in April 2017. Irish Water is working to progress a planning application under the 'Imperative Reasons for Over-riding Public Interest (IROPI)' mechanism.
Irish Water hopes to be able to resubmit the revised planning application supported by the IROPI documentation in the next two months.