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Irish Water boss says he can't rule out further repeats of large-scale boil water notices

A boil water notice is currently in place in for areas of Dublin, Meath and Kildare.
Nov 8th 2019, 8:59 AM 15,549 79

IRISH WATER CANNOT rule out further repeats of large-scale boil water notices, managing director Niall Gleeson has said. 

A boil water notice, issued on Monday, is currently in place in for areas of Dublin, Meath and Kildare. 

It impacts 600,000 people supplied by the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant. 

In a statement yesterday evening, Irish Water said that the boil water notice remains in place and that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will carry out an audit of the Leixlip plant today. 

As a yellow rainfall warning was in place for Dublin over the last number of days, Irish Water said it is uncertain of when the boil water notice will be lifted.

Due to the heavy rain, the source water going into the plant was cloudy due to suspended particles. The old Leixlip plant was subsequently not able to cope with the cloudiness levels. This resulted in the boil water notice being issued this week. 

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Gleeson said he understands the water notice is having a “massive impact on the people affected”. 

“We know there’s a huge amount of extra work going into the boiling of water. I’d like to apologise personally, it’s a major inconvenience,” Gleeson said, adding that Irish Water needs to make sure that “public health is the driving factor”. 

As a result, he said: “We need to make sure the water is safe to drink, so unfortunately the boil water notice has to stay in place for the moment.” 

Gleeson said that the old plant “managed to cope” with the heavy rain later night and that it is “performing quite well”. 

“Right now, the plant is delivering the water to the quality that we need but the EPA and the HSE will need to see if we can consistently deliver that quality,” Gleeson said. 

He noted that Irish Water has been having issues with the filter beds in the old plant, which is currently in the process of being refurbished. 

“As I said, it’s difficult to upgrade them while we’re trying to deliver the capacity of the water that that plant delivers,” he said. 

When asked whether the Leixlip plant will be able to cope with the “inevitable” levels of rain that will come in the months ahead, Gleeson said: 

Given the conditions of the plant and what we’re seeing now, there is a possibility of another boil water notice.
But as I said, we have our engineers on site. We’re looking at the planning, getting it back in service this week, but also looking at the longer term.
We’re doing everything we can to give more confidence around the plant, but I can’t rule out another boil water notice. 

map of the areas affect is available on the Irish Water website. Any homes and businesses identified in the current map follow are advised to follow the boil water advice.

What you should use cooled boiled water for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked before eating
  • Brushing of teeth or gargling
  • Making ice – discard existing ice cubes and make ice from cooled boiled water
  • Filtered water – pour out any filtered water in fridges and use cooled boiled water

What you do not need cooled boiled water for:

  • Personal hygiene, such as showering and bathing
  • Toilet flushing
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