13 November 2023
By Bryan McCarthy
Uisce Éireann would like to remind customers supplied by the Whitegate Public Water Supply that the Boil Water Notice issued on 18 October remains in place.
This notice was issued as a precautionary measure to protect the health of approximately 9,000 customers due to increased turbidity in the raw water source as a result of recent heavy rainfall. This may have compromised the disinfection process at the water treatment plant which makes the water safe to drink.
Areas impacted include Aghada, Churchtown, Ballycotton, Saleen, Shanagarry, Ballinacura and areas of Cloyne. Customers can check if their property is included by visiting www.water.ie and entering the property’s Eircode or by calling the Uisce Éireann customer care helpline, open 24/7, on 1800 278 278. A map of the area is attached and available to view on the supply and service section of water.ie.
Drinking water process specialists from Uisce Éireann are working to address the turbidity issues at the treatment plant and lift the notice as quickly and as safely as possible, in consultation with the HSE. However, given the limitations of the existing water treatment plant infrastructure, it could prove extremely difficult to lift the boil water notice during the winter months when raw water turbidity levels tend to spike.
Uisce Éireann’s Operations Lead, Niall O’Riordan, regrets the inconvenience to impacted customers, adding, “Public health is always our number one priority and we would like to assure customers that the notice has been put in place to protect public health.
“I want to again acknowledge that we understand the inconvenience caused to homes and businesses in the community, and would like to assure customers that we are working to resolve the issue and lift this Boil Water Notice, in conjunction with the HSE, as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Uisce Éireann’s drinking water standards, as per EU Drinking Water regulations, are strict and include wide safety margins. Where risks to water quality are identified through Uisce Éireann’s enhanced testing and monitoring programme, the HSE are consulted, and Boil Water Notices are issued to protect public health. In all instances immediate action is taken to address the cause of the issue with the aim of the lifting of the notice as quickly as it is safe to do so, in agreement with the HSE.
Vulnerable customers who have registered with Uisce Éireann receive direct communication on BWNs. Customers are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled.
Water must be boiled for:
- 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;
- Preparing 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 also 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.
Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.
Updates are available on our Water Supply Updates section on water.ie, on X (formerly Twitter) @IWCare and via our customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278.