Irish Water says it is “working tirelessly” to resolve issues affecting a water plant in east Cork in order to be able to lift a boil water notice impacting 9,500 people.
The boil water notice, which affects customers supplied by the Whitegate Regional Public Water Supply, was put in place on Christmas Day and remains in place until further notice. This includes people in Whitegate, Aghada, Churchtown, Ballycotton, Saleen, Shanagarry, Ballinacura and areas of Cloyne.
The notice was initially put in place as a precautionary measure following issues with the treatment process at the water treatment plant due to heavy rainfall.
The utility said that as a result, this may have compromised the disinfection process which makes the water safe to drink.
In a statement, Irish Water said that the utility and Cork County Council continue to work to rectify the issues at Whitegate Water Treatment Plant with a view to lifting the notice as quickly and as safely as possible.
“In the meantime, all customers on this supply are advised to boil their water before use until further notice,” it added.
Irish Water’s Pat Britton said that they appreciate the impact the notice is having on the community.
“Public health is Irish Water’s number one priority and we appreciate the impact that this notice is having on the community in East Cork. However, the restriction has been put in place as a precaution in order to protect our consumers.”
Mr Britton said that a long-term solution to the issue is being implemented, but that further boil water notices may have to be put in place in the coming months if the raw water source is adversely impacted by weather conditions.
“As part of our 25 year strategy under the National Water Resources Plan, we have identified that the preferred approach for the Whitegate supply includes the construction of a new water treatment plant to adequately treat the raw water. Due to the nature of the project, land acquisition, planning approvals and other legal consents may be required. We are currently completing the detailed scoping of the project which should be finished within the next month. Timelines for the completion of the project will be clearer then, however, all projects where some level of land acquisition, planning etc. are involved can be difficult to predict."
Mr Britton added: “We in Irish Water completely understand the community's frustration and can ensure everyone that we working tirelessly to resolve the issues affecting the plant, both in the short and long term, and to lift the boil water notice as early as it is safe to do so. Sampling, in consultation with the HSE, has begun and we will aim to lift the notice as soon as it is safe to do so. However, until a long term solution has been implemented, there is a possibility that further boil water notices may be imposed on the Whitegate Regional Water Supply in the coming months if the raw water source is adversely affected by weather conditions. We again apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.”
In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.
Irish Water said if any customer is unsure on whether or not the Boil Water Notice applies to their area, please visit www.water.ie or alternatively, customers can contact the Irish Water customer care helpline on 1800 278 278.