Tuesday 19 February 2019

Water treatment fault affects 65,000 across Dublin and Wicklow

Water must be boiled before drinking or brushing teeth
Water must be boiled before drinking or brushing teeth

Some 65,000 people across Wicklow and south Dublin will be forced to boil their drinking water until at least tomorrow.

The HSE has imposed a boil water notice as a "precautionary measure" after a mechanical failure of a chlorine booster at the Vartry Water Treatment Plant early yesterday.

The notice applies to towns including Bray and Greystones and the villages of Newtownmountkennedy, Kilcoole, Kilquade and Kilpedder in Wicklow.

Newcastle Hospital is also hit.

In Dublin, affected areas across Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown include Corke Abbey, Woodbrook Glen, Old Connaught Avenue, Thornhill Road, Ballyman Road, and the Dublin Road from the junction of Old Connaught Avenue to Allies River Road.

Not until health authorities are satisfied that water is adequately treated will the notice be lifted.

The utility said it could "potentially" be tomorrow before tap water is safe to drink.

"The boil water notice has been put in place as a precautionary measure to protect approximately 65,000 people served by this supply following the mechanical failure of the chlorine booster at the plant," Irish Water said in a statement.

"All water treatment at the plant must have adequate chlorine levels added to the water to make it safe to drink."

Chlorine dosing on the supply is under way, and a water sampling programme has been put in place to test quality in the affected areas.

"In the meantime, all customers of this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice," it added.


Irish Water was recently granted planning permission to upgrade the Vartry Water Treatment Plant, which is more than 150 years old. Works are due to be begin later this year, and will take two years to complete.

The company said water must be boiled before drinking, washing foods, brushing teeth or making ice.

The lack of clean drinking water in south Dublin and Wicklow shows how vulnerable Dublin's water supply is, according to business group Dublin Chamber.

The Chamber said the issuance of boil water notices for large parts of south Dublin and Wicklow is indicative of the problems that lie ahead, unless action is taken to upgrade the Dublin region's creaking water infrastructure.

"Dublin region's water supply is akin to a motor car running on four bald tyres with no spare in the boot," said the Chamber's director of public and international affairs Aebhric McGibney.

"On a typical day, Dublin is using 98pc of the water that is available.

"In most European capitals, they operate in a safer zone of around 80pc. This means we have virtually no 'headroom' to deal with crises and outages," he added.

Dublin Chamber has long warned that the capital's ailing infrastructure and water outages pose a big threat to Ireland's competitiveness.

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