Monday 17 September 2007

It's back to boiling water as e-coli strikes supplies

Just when they thought it was safe to try the water again . . . householders in Galway city's biggest suburb were reeling last night after being told once more that they could not use the tap water.

A 'water boil' notice was put in place after it was confirmed that traces of e-coli were found in the public supply in Knocknacarra.

The area has a population of 15,000 and, for the umpteenth time this year, most were traipsing to local supermarkets last night to stock up once again on bottled water.

Galway City Council issued the alert after tests revealed the presence of e-coli in the system.

And while the latest infection has nothing to do with the cryptosporidium outbreak which had the entire city boiling water for five months earlier this year, the precautionary notice was immediately issued.

Director of services with Galway City Council, Ciaran Hayes said that the problem appeared to have been caused by work being carried out by the Council on the water line in the Knocknacarra area.

Mr Hayes said: "As a result of the sampling that we undertake routinely in the area, we picked up a high reading for e-coli in the Knocknacarra area.

"What we did immediately was we flushed out the system and carried out remedial works. We injected additional chlorine and so on into the system."

He added: "We have since taken samples again and all of those samples are now clear. But we have consulted with the HSE in this matter and it has been decided on a precautionary basis to introduce a 'water boil' notice for a large part of the area".

Mr Hayes added that he expected that the notice would only be "in the short term".

But local councillor, Padraig Conneely said that it was only a matter of weeks since the people of Galway had emerged from five months of boiling water as a result of the cryptosporidium outbreak in the city. He described the latest development as "astounding".

"People were only starting to feel safe drinking the water again and now they are told that it is again contaminated. It is just not acceptable. I can't believe that the necessary precautions were not taken to ensure that the water would not be contaminated," he said.

Irish Independent

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