Bid to take Cork water supplies off watch list

Bid to take Cork water supplies off watch list
The water treatment plant on the Lee Road which supplies water to the City. Picture Dan Linehan

IRISH Water says work is continuing to remove ten Cork water supplies from the Environmental Protection Agency's watch list due to deficiencies in their water quality.

The ten water supplies include the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant which supplies most of Cork city with its water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a Remedial Action List (RAL) of supplies that fail to meet top standards.

There ten supplies in Cork include Allihies, Crookhaven, Durrus, Leap, Drimoleague, Kealkill and Schull. They are on the RAL due to the detection of THMs, or trihalomethanes, in the supply. 

THMs are chemicals formed by the reaction of naturally occurring dissolved organic material and chlorine which is used for disinfection in order to protect against pathogenic bacteria. Action plans are being prepared to address issues with THMs at each of these supplies.

In relation to THM’s, Irish Water said it takes its guidance from the HSE, EPA and the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

In specific reference to THMs the WHO has advised that adequate disinfection should never be compromised in attempting to meet guidelines for THMs, Irish Water said.

They have put in place the first national THM plan and by 2021 the utility aims to reduce the number of schemes on the RAL to zero through an investment of €327 million in upgrading water supplies at risk.

Work is also underway to address treatment issues at a number of other schemes in Cork which is aimed at facilitating the removal of these schemes from the RAL, subject to approval by the EPA.

In Cork City, Irish Water is progressing plans to upgrade the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant which serves over 100,000 people.

Upgrade works are underway in Millstreet in North Cork to provide a new UV disinfection system at the treatment plant.

Speaking about the RAL and the ongoing work in Cork, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Manager, Katherine Walshe said: “Irish Water remains committed to ensuring the delivery of high quality drinking water in the county and the removal of all water supplies from the RAL by 2021.

“As a single utility Irish Water is able to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of Ireland’s drinking water production plants and where serious compliance challenges are found they can be tackled more effectively and efficiently.”

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