LOUGH TALT BAN LIFTED

The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE -

THE boil wa­ter no­tice for the area sup­plied by the Lough Talt Pub­lic Wa­ter Sup­ply in South Sligo which has been in place since last Fe­bru­ary has been lifted.

How­ever, Ir­ish Wa­ter says there is a high risk of it be­ing re-im­posed in the near fu­ture.

The lift­ing of the boil no­tice has come as a big re­lief to house­hold­ers and busi­nesses in the area.

Cathaoir­leach of Sligo County Coun­cil, Cllr Martin Baker said: ‘ House­hold­ers, farm­ers and busi­nesses in the area would be de­lighted with this news, and he thanked them for their pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing while the boil no­tice was in place.

The news was also wel­comed by Coun­cil­lor Jerry Lundy, Chair of Sligo County Coun­cil’s Strate­gic Pol­icy Com­mit­tee ( SPC) on Trans­port and Environment, and leas Cathaoir­leach of Tub­ber­curry /Bal­ly­mote Mu­nic­i­pal District.

“Deal­ing with the ef­fects of a boil no­tice can be very dif­fi­cult for a com­mu­nity, and I am de­lighted that the no­tice which was in place for eight months has been lifted,” he said.

The boil wa­ter no­tice was put in place fol­low­ing a de­tec­tion of cryp­tosporid­ium dur­ing rou­tine sam­pling at the wa­ter treat­ment plant.

An in­creased con­tin­u­ous weekly sam­pling plan was im­ple­mented and five fur­ther de­tec­tions of cryp­tosporid­ium were found both at the plant and in the sup­ply net­work dur­ing of Fe­bru­ary.

Fol­low­ing sev­eral con­sul­ta­tions with the HSE over the in­ter­ven­ing months, it was ad­vised that the boil wa­ter no­tice should re­main in place due to in­ad­e­quate treat­ment for cryp­tosporid­ium, cryp­tosporid­ium de­tec­tions at the plant and in­ves­ti­ga­tions of as­so­ci­ated ill­ness in the com­mu­nity.

Con­tin­ued weekly mon­i­tor­ing demon­strated zero de­tec­tion since Fe­bru­ary 28 2018 un­til the end of Au­gust when fur­ther de­tec­tions of cryp­tosporid­ium at the plant were recorded.

Fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tive meeting last Wed­nes­day be­tween Ir­ish Wa­ter, the HSE and Sligo County Coun­cil it was agreed to lift the no­tice with im­me­di­ate ef­fect as there had been no re­ported cases of ill­ness in the com­mu­nity and zero de­tec­tions recorded since the end of Au­gust.

In the mean­time, Ir­ish Wa­ter will con­tinue to mon­i­tor this sup­ply closely for the pres­ence of cryp­tosporid­ium.

An­thony Sk­eff­in­g­ton, Re­gional As­set Op­er­a­tions Man­ager from Ir­ish Wa­ter said: “Pub­lic health is our num­ber one pri­or­ity and we aim to pro­vide com­pli­ant and ro­bust wa­ter treat­ment for the 13,000 peo­ple who are sup­plied by the Lough Talt pub­lic wa­ter sup­ply in the short­est pos­si­ble time and that is where our at­ten­tions are fo­cused.

“This de­tec­tion of cryp­tosporid­ium came to light due to height­ened sam­pling by Ir­ish Wa­ter on this scheme. Ir­ish Wa­ter is acutely aware that this wa­ter sup­ply lacks the nec­es­sary bar­ri­ers and will con­tinue to mon­i­tor it closely to en­sure pub­lic health is safe­guarded.”

The level of treat­ment cur­rently pro­vided at the Lough Talt wa­ter treat­ment plant does not pro­vide ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion against cryp­tosporid­ium. Ir­ish Wa­ter is ad­vis­ing cus­tomers that un­til the plant is up­graded and a val­i­dated cryp­tosporid­ium bar­rier is pro­vided there is a high risk of fur­ther cryp­tosporid­ium de­tec­tions in the sup­ply.

If this sce­nario oc­curs, it is pos­si­ble that the boil wa­ter no­tice may be re-im­posed.

In 2015 Ir­ish Wa­ter pro­posed to con­struct a wa­ter treat­ment plant down­stream of the ex­ist­ing treat­ment plant site but was re­fused plan­ning per­mis­sion by Sligo County Coun­cil and sub­se­quently on appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

The 2015 ap­pli­ca­tion was re­fused be­cause An Bord Pleanála could not ex­clude the pos­si­bil­ity that the de­vel­op­ment, in com­bi­na­tion with the ab­strac­tion from Lough Talt, would ad­versely af­fect the Lough Hoe Spe­cial Area of Con­ser­va­tion and the River Moy.

Ir­ish Wa­ter ap­plied for plan­ning to up­grade the wa­ter treat­ment plant on 28 May 2018 for the pro­vi­sion of an emer­gency wa­ter treat­ment plant to ad­dress the ab­sence of an ef­fec­tive crypto bar­rier, but also to pro­vide mit­i­ga­tion against the for­ma­tion of Tri­halomethanes.

The county coun­cil re­quested fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on 19 July 2018 and

Ir­ish Wa­ter ex­pect to re­turn the in­for­ma­tion to the coun­cil in Novem­ber.

Busi­ness cus­tomers will shortly re­ceive a 40% re­bate (back­dated to March 2018 on the cost of the sup­ply of wa­ter to their busi­nesses.

Mean­while, Ir­ish Wa­ter, work­ing in part­ner­ship with Sligo County Coun­cil, is re­plac­ing age­ing wa­ter mains in the At­tiduff and Ard­trasna near Ballinfull to im­prove se­cu­rity of sup­ply and drink­ing wa­ter qual­ity for cus­tomers and to re­duce high lev­els of leak­age.

The works in­volve the re­place­ment of ap­prox­i­mately 800 me­tres of prob­lem­atic wa­ter mains with high den­sity poly­eth­yl­ene (plas­tic) pipes and is sched­uled to com­mence on Oc­to­ber 29 th. The works are part of Ir­ish Wa­ter’s Na­tional Leak­age Re­duc­tion Pro­gramme which will re­duce the high level of leak­age across the coun­try by fix­ing or re­plac­ing age­ing wa­ter mains over the next four years.

The Lough Talt Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant.

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