A Boil Water Notice remains in place for customers on the Whitegate Regional Public Water Supply this week. A prolonged period of heavy rainfall in recent weeks and again in the past 24 hours has resulted in high levels of turbidity at the plant that compromised water treatment. The boil water notice remains in place for approximately 6,500 people at this time. Irish Water and Cork County Council are working to lift the notice as quickly as possible, by working on minor upgrades and assessments at the plant and monitoring and testing water quality across the networks supplied from Whitegate.
In 2016, Irish Water added a new filtration system to the water treatment plant at Kilva. This filtration system enhanced water treatment, but the plant remains vulnerable to high levels of turbidity following heavy rainfall events in the catchment. The frequency of these rainfall events has increased in recent years.
The boil water notice was imposed on the Whitegate Supply on February 01 as a precautionary measure following turbidity issues at the Water Treatment Plant, which may have compromised the disinfection process that makes the water safe to drink. The areas impacted include Whitegate, Aghada, Churchtown, Ballycotton, Cloyne, Saleen and Ballinacurra. A detailed map, which clarifies the local areas and properties on the Boil Water Notice is available on the Irish Water website, www.water.ie and here.
On February 07, a mechanical issue occurred at the plant. Irish Water and Cork County Council have since been assessing this mechanical issue and completing repair work. All repair work was completed last week. A technical assessment is also underway to ensure the plant continues to operate correctly at this time.
Neil Smyth Operations Lead with Irish Water, said:
We want to assure the 6,500 people on the Whitegate supply that we are working to lift the notice as quickly as possible. We have been working over the last few weeks to deliver minor upgrades at the plant and monitor and test water quality across the network. A combination of adverse weather conditions in recent weeks and the current heavy rainfall event are giving our teams an opportunity to monitor the plants performance when turbidity levels are at their highest.
Neil added, We wish to apologise to all of the homes and businesses impacted by this Boil Water Notice. We believe that it will be a matter of weeks, rather than months before the notice is lifted, however any decision to lift the notice will be made in consultation with the HSE. Irish Water will liaise with the HSE and EPA throughout the duration of the works at the plant. Our team will issue regular updates to the communities impacted by this notice as we continue our work to lift it as quickly as possible. The plant at Whitegate remains vulnerable to increased heavy rainfall events and our teams are prioritising the development of medium and longer term solutions for the plant. As we work to identify solutions, we will update the communities supplied from the Whitegate scheme on our plans.
All customers of this supply are advised to continue to boil water before use until further notice.
There is no need for customers to buy bottled water. Once tap water is boiled and cooled, it will be safe for consumption. The water is safe for all other applications including personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets.
Irish Water acknowledges the impact and inconvenience caused by the imposition of a Boil Water Notice to homes and businesses. We wish to thank the community for their patience and cooperation while we work to resolve this issue. Irish Water’s priority is the provision of safe, clean drinking water and safeguarding that water supply for the future is a vital focus. We will continue to update the communities impacted as we work to lift this Boil Water Notice.
Should customers have any queries regarding this Boil Water Notice they should contact Irish Water directly on our customer care helpline, open 24/7, on 1850 278 278. Updates will be available on the Water Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website and via Twitter @IWCare.
Further information on using water during a Boil Water Notice can be found on our website at www.water.ie/water-supply/water-quality/boil-water-notice.
Boil Water Notice advice
Water must be boiled for:
- Drinks made with water
- Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
- Brushing of teeth
- Making of ice – discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.
What actions should be taken:
- 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. It is important to continue to follow the HSE guidance when collecting water including social distancing and hand hygiene.
- Boil water by bringing 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. 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. If you are 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. Check the label on the bottled water to make sure the sodium or `Na’ is not greater than 200mg per litre. If it is, then it is advisable to use a different type of bottled water. If no other water is available, then use this water for as short a time as possible. It is important to keep babies hydrated.
- If you have pets and are concerned about the impact of providing mains water while this BWN is in place, you should ask your local vet for advice
- Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.
A map of the areas affected by the Boil Water Notice on the Whitegate Regional Water Supply Scheme is attached.
Irish Water has created this useful video about using water during a boil water notice https://youtu.be/7rvA63Cwaic
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