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Water quality

Irish Water investigates reports of 'earthy' drinking water in Dublin and Wicklow

The utility company said the water is safe to drink.

IRISH WATER HAS said it is investigating reports from some customers in Dublin and Wicklow of an ‘earthy’ taste and smell in their drinking water.

The complaints relate to the Vartry Water Treatment Plant which serves customers in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin City and North County Wicklow.

Irish Water has said that while its investigation is ongoing, it wants to reassure customers that drinking water produced at the plant is fully compliant with statutory drinking water regulations and is safe to drink.

Earlier, RTÉ reported that customers complained to Irish Water that their drinking water had tasted and smelled “musty” or “earthy” over the past number of weeks.

Irish Water has confirmed that it is investigating the complaints and has ordered additional sampling to identify the source of the change in smell or taste.

In a statement, Irish Water said the drinking water produced at the plant receives full chlorination and Ultra-Violet (UV) disinfection, meaning it does not contain any harmful bacteria, viruses, or protozoa.

It also said that the water produced at the plant is tested daily, but additional sampling has been arranged in response to the reports of abnormal taste and smell. 

It said previous investigations of this nature have identified the source water as the possible cause of an earthy taste.

Irish Water said this can be due to the growth of algae in the area where water is abstracted.

“This can result in an earthy or musty taste/smell in the drinking water,” it explained.

“While the taste and smell can be unpleasant, drinking water with an earthy or musty taste is typically harmless. The taste and smell may be compounded due to changes in raw water characteristics caused by seasonal changes and reduced levels in the raw water supply as we move from Summer to Autumn.”

Kevin Love, Regional Asset Operations Lead at Irish Water said the company would like to reassure customers that public health is the number one priority and drinking water produced at the water treatment plant is “fully compliant with statutory drinking water regulations and is safe to drink”.

“The water produced at the plant is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network and additional sampling and analysis is underway to establish the root cause of the change in taste and smell,” he said.

“We will continue to keep the situation under close review until normal drinking water supply is restored. We regret any inconvenience caused.”

For more information on taste and odour issues in drinking water, customers can visit Irish Water’s website.

Customers with queries or concerns about the quality of their drinking water can contact the Irish Water customer care helpline on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter.

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