by Michelle Hennessy
Some residents in the county have been issued with boil water notices every two weeks
RESIDENTS IN PARTS of Roscommon are still waiting for the council to come up with a solution to the cryptosporidium problem, some six months after the first boil water notice was issued.
In May a boil water notice was imposed on consumers in the Boyle and Boyle/Ardcarne area and one resident toldTheJournal.ie that people affected are still being sent these notices every two weeks.
“I estimate I’ll spend about €600 to buy water from the shops this year or through costs for electricity to boil the water,” she said. “I don’t particularly like being told that it’s a minor issue, you’ll just get a bit of diarrhoea – that would put me out of work for a week.”
The Roscommon resident said they have not been given any update on what is being done to solve the wider issue.
“What do we do about protecting the water supply? Are we going to be faced with parasites in the water on a regular basis?” they asked.
Following an audit by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a legally binding direction was issued requiring the submission of an action plan by the end of August. However the EPA tole TheJournal.ie that the supply is “complex” as the water source is more variable in quality and “there is no simple solution to this”.
Construction is due to start shortly on a new treatment plant which the agency said will provide an appropriate treatment barrier for the water. The EPA added that this supply “remains on a boil water notice until such time as Roscommon County Council/HSE advise”.
The resident said she would be “very cross” if this problem persisted when the new water charges are implemented next year.
A spokesperson for Irish Water told TheJournal.ie that, following the introduction of water charges, the company “will deal with instances in which water services provided to customers fall short of acceptable standards on a case by case basis”.
However it is important to remember that safeguarding the water system and enhancing the quality of water services can only be achieved through increased investment, much if which will come from the introduction of water charges.
Though Irish Water will take ownership of the public water assets early next year, the actual charges will not be introduced until the last quarter of 2014.
Extension of boil water notice
On Thursday the boil water notice was extended to South Roscommon due to the detection of an outbreak of the gut infection cryptosporidiosis.
The EPA said it was “aware of the deficiencies in the levels of treatment in this supply” stating that it is on the EPA Remedial Action List and confirmed it has been in communication with council regarding remedial works to this supply.
It said the council have included this supply in plans to upgrade this and 3 other schemes and construction on this bundle of schemes is to start shortly.
“The EPA will be liaising closely with Roscommon County Council and will be carrying out an audit of the Water Treatment Plant and will take the appropriate enforcement action following an assessment of the findings of this audit,” a spokesperson said.