Irish Water believes that a warning that Portlaoise's drinking water could become contaminated with a bug dangerous to health is “overly conservative.”
That is what the state utility company has told the Environmental Protection Agency in response to a warning that the town's supply could become contaminated byCryptosporidium.
The EPA told the Leinster Express that it listed the Portlaoise public water supply to its Remedial Action List (RAL) in the third quarter of 2014 “due to inadequate treatment for Cryptosporidium.”
The agency said that while the water supply currently meets the quality standards set out in the European Union (Drinking Water) Regulations 2014, the Cryptosporidium risk score for this groundwater supply is” very high and there is currently no Cryptosporidium treatment barrier at Kilminchy water treatment plant.”
The EPA said it carried out a Drinking Water Audit of Portlaoise public water supply in October 2015 to assess the progress of Irish Water’s action programme to remove this supply from the RAL. The audit found that Irish Water’s action programme had been delayed and very little progress had been made at that time to undertake works to remove this supply from the RAL. A copy of the audit report is available on the EPA website.
Following on from the audit, the EPA said Irish Water has committed to completing the action programme to facilitate the removal of Portlaoise from the RAL by July 2017.
The EPA said it is monitoring Irish Water’s progress in carry out these works. However, the latest update from Irish Water received by the EPA on June 30, 2016 states the following: “Irish Water believe that the Crypto risk assessment for the Portlaoise supply is overly conservative and are looking to undertake an expert assessment of the sources supplying Kilminchy WTP to determine the true Crypto risk.
Irish Water said its plan was to appoint a consultant hydrogeologist to review / update the existing Crypto risk assessment for the Kilminchy supply. It said an interim Crypto risk for Kilminchy WTP will be submitted to the Agency in Q3 for review ahead of the complete Crypto Risk Assessment which will include for review of 12 months raw water characterisation data which is being collected simultaneously.
Irish Water says online UVT monitoring has commenced on each of the raw water bore holes in addition to monthly Crypto monitoring.
Irish Water said it is in the process of appointing a Contractor to carry out upgrade works of PLCs at Kilminchy WTP and integration to the county wide SCADA. It is anticipated this will be completed by the fourt quarter of 2016.
The water company said a Contractor is being appointed for the Upgrade of the Disinfection process with works expected to commence in Quarter 3 2016.
Crypto can cause cryptosporidiosis include watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, upset stomach and a mildfever. The impact can be more severe on people who are already ill or whose immune systemes are low.
A UV light filtration system must be installed to kill off the bug a the treatment works to prevent it entering the supply.