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Uisce Éireann is intensifying efforts to combat persistent water discolouration problems in Cork City through a comprehensive strategy that includes increased water sampling, an expansive flushing programme, and substantial watermains replacements.

The utility’s dedicated Water Quality Taskforce is at the forefront, employing a multi-pronged approach to ensure the safety and clarity of tap water. Regular and operational sampling at customer taps and the treatment plant have been augmented to include proactive investigative monitoring directly at customer taps. This increase aims to reassure the public that the water, once clear, meets all safety standards and helps pinpoint the underlying causes of discolouration.

To date, Uisce Éireann has proactively contacted approximately 235 customers who have previously reported discoloured water, providing them with updates on ongoing remedial actions and to gather more data on their experiences. This outreach complements the standard callbacks made following routine discolouration reports received by their customer service.

Residents are advised against consuming discoloured water. Typically, letting the tap run for up to 20 minutes should clear the discolouration. Should problems persist, customers are urged to contact the 24/7 helpline at 1800 278 278 to log their issues for further investigation.

Ongoing Network Improvements

In the Douglas area, targeted flushing operations are nearing completion, with Iona Park, Murmount, Merrion Court, and parts of Gardiner’s Hill scheduled next for a similar cleanse starting the week of April 22. Subsequent plans include Blarney Street, Cathedral Road, and Gurranabraher among others.

The flushing technique involves forcing water at high speeds through the mains to dislodge and remove built-up sediment and debris. While effective, this can temporarily increase the presence of discoloured water due to the disturbed sediments.

Beyond flushing, Uisce Éireann is also enhancing the water network’s infrastructure. Recent replacements on Edward Walsh Road and ongoing works at Popham’s Road are part of broader efforts to update the ageing network, which largely consists of old cast iron pipes. Future upgrades are planned for the South Quays and areas like Sydney Park and Dublin Hill.

Approximately half a billion euro is projected as necessary for the complete replacement of the city’s outdated water infrastructure over multiple investment phases, addressing about 50% of the current network made up of old materials.

Commitment to Quality and Safety

Every day, Uisce Éireann delivers high-quality, clean, and safe drinking water to over 125,000 Cork City residents. In 2023, a little over 1% of these customers reached out with discolouration concerns, prompting both immediate and strategic responses from the utility.

Regular updates and consultations with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensure that public health priorities align with operational practices, especially during periods when discolouration reports surge.

Uisce Éireann remains steadfast in its commitment to resolving these issues, continuously seeking innovative solutions to enhance Cork City’s water quality and network reliability.

Uisce Éireann is in constant communication with the HSE and EPA, ensuring all health advisories and environmental standards are rigorously followed amid ongoing efforts to improve water clarity and safety for all residents in Cork City.

For additional information or to report discolouration, residents can contact the Uisce Éireann customer care helpline available round the clock.