Irish Water has confirmed that it is working on a long-term solution to address ongoing problems with an East Cork water plant.
However, the company warned customers supplied by Whitegate Regional Public Water Supply, who have been living with a boil water notice since Christmas, that further boil notices may be necessary in the coming months.
A boil water notice, which affects approximately 10,000 customers, remains currently in place and impacts upon people in Whitegate, Aghada, Churchtown, Ballycotton, Saleen, Shanagarry, Ballinacura and areas of Cloyne.
Water quality has been a recurring problem in the area over the past seven years.
Irish Water said it was planning a major upgrade of the water treatment plant that would ensure a safe, reliable supply of drinking water to customers in the area.
The company said a detailed scoping of the new treatment plant has been completed and a contractor had recently been appointed, with the proposed works including a new clarification system, a new filtration system and a new disinfection system.
The company said the design process was due to be completed by the end of this year, and said it was targeting early 2023 for the submission of a planning application to Cork County Council, if required.
The company warned that, given the possible need for land acquisition and planning permission, timelines were difficult to predict, but it was anticipated that construction would commence on site in 2024.
In the meantime, it said, crews from Irish Water and Cork County Council had been working to rectify issues at the treatment plant since a boil water notice, which remains currently in place, was issued om 25 December last year.
Irish Water said it hoped to liaise with the HSE over the coming weeks with a view to begin sampling the water supply at Whitegate but would only lift the boil notice when safe to do so.
The utility warned there was a strong possibility that further boil water notices might be imposed on the Whitegate Regional Water Supply in the coming months if the raw water source was adversely affected by weather conditions.
Irish Water’s operational lead, Pat Britton, said the company understood the community’s frustration and apologised for the inconvenience caused.