By Carmel Hayes
THE water supply in Abbeyleix will be removed from the ‘at risk’ list, after an extensive upgrade.
The announcement by Irish Water today is good news for about 1,800 householders in the town and surrounding areas.
Traces of the Cyptosporidium parasite were found in the Abbeyleix drinking water supply in 2019, when it was placed on a Remedial Action List by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The microscopic parasite can cause the diarrhoeal disease known as Cryptosporidiosis or ‘Crypto’. In most healthy people, the infection causes a bout of watery diarrhoea that usually goes away within a week or two. However, in rare cases, it can be life-threatening for people with a compromised immune system.
Irish Water said today that the Abbeyleix supply is deemed up to standard, following extensive investment and upgrade works by the utility and Laois County Council.
The project included installation of new ultraviolet disinfection units and an upgrade of the chlorination system, providing a treatment barrier for Cryptosporidium.
As a result, the EPA has agreed to remove Abbeyleix from its Remedial Action List (RAL), which identifies drinking water supplies that are at risk of failing to consistently supply safe, clean drinking water.
Irish Water said in a statement: “The Abbeyleix supply has been approved for removal by the EPA, following extensive investment and upgrade works by Irish Water, working in partnership with Laois County Council.
“Works included installation of new ultraviolet (UV) disinfection units and an upgrade of the existing chlorination system, improving drinking water quality and compliance with water treatment standards.
“These works provide a fully validated treatment barrier for Cryptosporidium, which was the main risk associated with the supply while it was on the RAL. Completion of these works has not only ensured the removal of Abbeyleix water supply from the EPA’s RAL, it has also safeguarded the water supply, ensuring the delivery of safe, clean drinking water to homes and businesses in Abbeyleix and surrounding areas.”
According to Irish Water, listing of a supply on the RAL does not mean the water is unsafe to drink. The statement said: “In fact, over 99.7% of supplies remain safe to drink and do not present any risk to health.
“Where drinking water quality deficiencies are found due to Irish Water’s improved testing and sampling regime, a Boil Water Notice or Do Not Consume notice may be issued to protect public health.”