The residents of a Cork island are now able to consume boiled water after six months of living off ferried bottled supplies and showering in ‘filthy water’, but Irish Water have said that they cannot say when the Boil Water Notice will be lifted.
Since September the 30 people who live on Whiddy Island, which is off Bantry Bay, have been dependent on bottles of water getting shipped over to them, including one 99-year-old woman who lives there.
Today Irish Water announced that they are now shifting the Do Not Consume water notice on the island to a Boil Water notice, which will no doubt be a welcome update.
The tight knit community on the island found themselves in an “awful situation” when their tap water became filthy, and black and brown in colour.
Previously the chairman of the local development association, 28-year-old Connie O’ Leary, told CorkBeo that everyone on the island was “just sick of it” and wanted to know when the issues of their water supply would be fixed.
“we can’t even fill the kettle from the tap or use it to wash potatoes, we are living off bottled supplies that Irish water are sending over on one of the barges coming to our oil terminals,” Connie said.
“It isn’t as dirty as it was, at the start the water was filthy and black, but we had no choice but to shower in it, it is still brown now,” he added,” he added.
Back in September Irish Water said that the issue was being caused by “low water at raw water extraction levels” and the “levels of colour and turbidity in the treated water” meant that it couldn’t be used to prepare food, to brush your teeth, or for anything other than showering, but even then the islanders were warned to make sure children didn’t swallow the bathing water.
Niall O’Riordan of Irish Water said: “A significant amount of improvement works were completed at the treatment plant on the island, which has resulted in improved water quality but unfortunately turbidity still remains higher than acceptable. However, this has put us in a better position and has allowed us to transition into a Boil Water Notice.
“In an effort to further escalate and address the issues, Irish Water has engaged a specialist contractor to carry out additional works.
“It is hard for us to put a time frame on when we may be able to lift the Boil Water Notice, but we are hopeful that this can be achieved in March once the additional works are complete and subject to water quality sampling results.
“Public health remains our number one priority. We would like to thank the people of Whiddy Island for their patience and cooperation throughout and wish to remind everyone that water can be consumed but it must be boiled before use,” he added.
Islanders can read up on the ins and outs of the new water notice here.