Sep 20, 2021

Two Ireland Drinking Water Treatment Plants Cited, Drinking Water Supply Impacted

The EPA conducted audits of Ballymore Eustace and Gorey Water Treatment Plants in Ireland to investigate the incidents.

ireland water supply

Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated failures of the operation of two drinking water plants, which created unsafe drinking water. 

The EPA conducted audits of Ballymore Eustace and Gorey Water Treatment Plants to investigate the incidents, reported the EPA press release. According to the EPA press release, unsafe water entered the public drinking water supply in August. 

Delays in reporting and failure to consult with the HSE, according to EPA, resulted in no opportunity to issue boil water notices to approximately 900,000 consumers of both supplies.

In Gorey, County Wexford, Ireland, there were 52 confirmed cases of illness as well as hospital admissions as a result of issues at the Gorey Water Treatment plant. An incident from a power failure and a chlorine pump failure resulted in water leaving the plant and entering the public supply without appropriate disinfection for approximately a five day period Aug. 19-24. 

According to the EPA investigation, Ballymore Eustace plant produced unsafe drinking water for a period of up to 10 hours Aug. 20-21. Ballymore Eustace plant is the largest water treatment plant in Ireland, and serves approximately 877,000 consumers in the greater Dublin area, reported the press release. The incident was not notified by Irish Water to the EPA or to the HSE until Sept. 1.

“The protection of public health is of paramount importance in the provision of our public drinking water supplies,” said EPA in its press release. “It is unacceptable that delays in notifying the EPA and Health Service Executive (HSE) meant that approximately 900,000 consumers were left unaware of the risks they faced and did not have the opportunity to protect themselves. Immediate actions must be taken by Irish Water and the Local Authorities to ensure these failures do not arise again.”

“Additional unreported incidents were uncovered by EPA inspectors during the auditing process which supports the EPA’s view of abject failures in managerial oversight, operational control and responsiveness to recognize the seriousness of these incidents for public health,” added the EPA in the press release.

According to EPA, both plants have returned to normal operation since the incidents.

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