Call for government to prioritise remedial works for those impacted by Sligo's Lough Talt boil water notice

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Boil water notice issued for Donegal

A boil water notice remains in place in Sligo

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Eamon Scanlon, has urged the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to instruct their Departments to prioritise the Irish Water application which can bring about a solution to the boil water notice currently live in Sligo.

A  Boil Water Notice was removed from the Lough Talt area in November 2018 but was put back in place on Friday January 11, 2019 following a detection of cryptosporidium during routine sampling at the water treatment plant.

Business customers in the Lough Talt area have been informed they will receive a 40% rebate on the cost of the supply of water to their businesses for the duration of the boil water notice and this will be back dated to February 5, 2018.

Deputy Scanlon said, “There are currently 13, 600 homes and businesses across Sligo on boil water notices due to traces of cryptosporidium in the water. This has caused much hardship for the residents, restaurant and hotel owners, and the many others who have to boil water before using it. Once again, I have raised with the Minister the urgent need for this to be fixed and clean, safe drinking water returned to the area.

“Irish Water had applied for planning to Sligo County Council, who have done everything they can to grant this application, however it has been sent to the Department for Housing, Planning, and Local Government. This has dragged on and has been held up in the Department due to the IROPI legislation it comes under. This legislation is unique to planning issues which can only be granted by the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government.

“The Minister must make this matter a priority for the nearly 14, 000 people who remain on boil water notices today,” stressed Deputy Scanlon.

Affected areas

The Lough Talt water supply Scheme normally serves a population of 13,046. Currently 12,576 people are affected including the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and a large rural hinterland including the villages of Annagh, Aclare, Bellaghy, Curry, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow, Carrowneden, Kilmacteige and Coolaney.

Group water schemes

The Boil Water Notice also includes consumers supplied by the Ogham Group Water Scheme and the following areas in Co, Mayo: Cloontia, Doocastle and Quarryfield. 

The Lough Talt Water Treatment Plant is currently on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL) for both cryptosporidium and THM risk. 

Boil Water Notice Advice

Customers are reminded to continue to boil water before consumption including the washing of teeth, making of ice and in the preparation of food that is not cooked. It is imperative that people adhere to the boil water notice.

Water must be boiled for:

- Drinking
- Drinks made with water
- Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
- Brushing of teeth
- Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.

What actions should be taken:

- Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads)
- Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling
- Boil water by bringing to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool. Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place. Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink. Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink
- Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water

HSE advice for making up infant formula:

- Where a Boil Water Notice is in place, you can prepare infant formula from tap water that has been boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute) and cooled beforehand.
- Bottled water can be used to make up infant formula. All bottled water, with the exception of natural mineral water, is regulated to the same standard as drinking water. It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals, although it rarely does. ‘Natural Mineral Water’ can be used if no other water is available, for as short a time as possible, as it is important to keep babies hydrated.
- If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute), and cooled in the normal way.
- Ready-to-use formula that does not need added water can also be used.

Health advice

- Anyone suffering from diarrhoea for more than two days should contact their general practitioner and provide a stool sample for testing. They should continue to drink plenty of boiled or bottled water. 
- Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

Further Information

You can call the Irish Water customer care team on Callsave 1850 278 278 or visit Twitter (www.twitter.com/IWCare) for any queries on this notice.