People on the water supply to Laois town at risk of crypto bug contamination

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

abbeyleix

Bottled water can be a costly alternative if a water supply is infected with the crypto parasite

The public water supply for Abbeyleix Laois town is listed in the latest blacklist schemes that need an upgrade because it is at risk being contaminated with the bug Cryptosporidium.

The Abbeyleix 1 PWS was found to have inadequate treatment for Cryptosporidium in the Remedial Action List of supplies with problems published by the Environmental Protection Authority in its annual report on public water supplies

It was one of 12 supplies at the end of 2019 where there were 12 supplies on the for inadequate treatment for Cryptosporidium.

The list says the Abbeyleix supply will. The completion date for upgrade is June 2021. UV light technology can destroy the parasite during the treatment process.

If it enters the water supply boil notices are issued to households. People may also have buy bottled water as an alternative source of drinking water.

Cryptosporidium infection (cryptosporidiosis) is an illness caused by tiny, one-celled cryptosporidium parasites. 

In most healthy people, a cryptosporidium infection produces a bout of watery diarrhoea. The infection usually goes away within a week or two. A cryptosporidium infection can become life-threatening without treatment if someone has a compromised immune system, 

Cryptosporidium may be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the faeces from infected humans or animals. Manure from cattle may contain a large amount of Cryptosporidium spores, and nearby water sources may become contaminated when heavy rainfall causes run-off thereby washing the manure into the water sources. Vegetable crops may also be contaminated by directly applying contaminated manure to the fields on which the crops are grown.