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Funding for Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant to be fast-tracked as Enniscorthy boil water notice remains in place

The boil water notice affects approximately 11,187 consumers supplied by the Enniscorthy Public Water Supply scheme


Keeping a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold can save six litres a day. Stock image

Keeping a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold can save six litres a day. Stock image

Keeping a jug of water in the fridge rather than letting the tap run cold can save six litres a day. Stock image


A spokesperson for Irish Water has said funding has been fast-tracked to carry out essential operational and maintenance works at the Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant in Enniscorthy following a boil water notice being issued for the town on Friday, May 27.

The notice has remained in place since then and was issued in consultation with the HSE, Irish Water and Wexford County Council.

The notice affects approximately 11,187 consumers who are supplied by the Enniscorthy Public Water Supply scheme and three clear water test samples are required before the notice can be lifted.

The notice followed on from the detection of cryptosporidium which was found following testing at the Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant. This notice applies to all consumers on the Enniscorthy Public Water supply scheme and the spokesperson for Irish Water said all consumers affected must boil their water before drinking.

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“Irish Water's primary focus is and always will be the protection of public health,” said the spokesperson.

“Drinking water experts from Irish Water and Wexford County Council are working to implement solutions to lift the notice as quickly and as safely as possible in consultation with the HSE,” he added. However, in the meantime, all customers on the supply are advised to boil and cool their water before use, and until further notice.

The spokesperson said a long-term, multi-million plan for the upgrade of the plant is already in train with “a significant upgrade of the Enniscorthy water supply scheme planned".

“That proposed plan includes upgrades to the intake at Clonhaston, raw water main replacement and significant investment at the Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant itself,” said the spokesperson.

“The project is at design and planning phase, with works programmed to progress to tender in 2022 and construction to commence in 2023,” he added.

“We have taken the decision to fast-track these essential works this week with a view of lifting the Boil Water Notice as soon as possible if all goes to plan,” said Ronan Walsh, from Irish Water.

"We began by replacing the filter media on Monday morning,” he added.

“There are three of these filters and they do take some time to remove the media and then put them back in place.”

Mr Walsh said that once the first filter is complete, the supply will be tested and monitored.

"This will inform us if we can continue to work on the other two filters while lifting the Boil Water Notice,” said Mr Walsh.

He acknowledged the impact the notice will have on the community and regrets the inconvenience it will cause. However, he emphasised that public health is a priority and said Irish Water is working closely with Wexford County Council to restore drinking water quality for all impacted customers in Enniscorthy as quickly as possible.

“We have had very heavy rainfall in the Enniscorthy catchment area over the past few days and our sampling has highlighted a detection of cryptosporidium at Vinegar Hill Water Treatment Plant,” said Mr Walsh.

"We regret the impact that this Boil Water Notice will have on the local community and would like to assure them that we are prioritising works to restore a safe water supply with a view of lifting the notice as soon as it is safe to do so,” he added.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on the notice and are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled and cooled. In line with HSE advice on hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

Until such time as the notice is lifted it’s recommended that water is boiled for drinking, making drinks with water, preparation of salads and similar food which are not cooked prior to eating, brushing of teeth. In addition ice should only be made from boiled water that has cooled and any ice cubes in fridges and freezers should be discarded.

Irish Water is also advising consumers that the following actions should be taken with regard to water usage in the home: Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads); Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling; Boil water by bringing it to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool. Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place; Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink; Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink; Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water; Prepare infant feeds with water that has been brought to the boil once and cooled and do not use water that has been re-boiled several times.

If bottled water is used for the preparation of infant feeds it should be boiled once and cooled and if using bottled water for preparing baby food, be aware that some natural mineral water may have high sodium content.

The legal limit for sodium in drinking water is 200mg per litre and consumers are advised to check the label on the bottled water to make make sure the sodium or `Na' is not greater than 200mg per litre.

If it is, then it’s advisable to use a different type of bottled water and if no other water is available use this water for as short a time as possible as it’s important to keep babies hydrated.

Great care should also be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

Updates are available on www.water.ie, on Twitter @IWCare and through Irish Water’s customer care helpline 1800 278 278.