Boil Notice imposed on Clonmel drinking water supply

Date released: Aug 03 2007

On Friday 3rd August 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was informed by phone of the imposition of a boil notice by South Tipperary County Council, following advice received from the Health Service Executive, for the water supply serving a significant part of the Clonmel area.

Recent results of analysis completed on the Clonmel Drinking water supply have indicated an increased level of Cryptosporidium.  The boil notice is a precautionary measure as there have been no reported illnesses in relation to this water supply. 

A full investigation is underway that includes the following work:

- Microbiological Analysis to determine whether the type of cryptosporidium is animal or human in origin;

- The potential source of the contamination;

- The adequacy of drinking water treatment provided;

- The adequacy of sampling equipment and techniques.

The EPA has requested South Tipperary County Council to provide all relevant information relating to this contamination incident and to take the necessary corrective and preventative actions. The EPA will continue to monitor and assess the situation in liaison with the Health Service Executive and South Tipperary County Council and will provide further updates as information becomes available.

The priority for the EPA is to ensure that adequate measures are put in place by South Tipperary County Council at the earliest possible date to ensure that the effected areas have a consistently safe supply of drinking water.  When the Health Service Executive is confident that a consistently safe supply of water is available it will then be in a position to consider the removal of the boil water notice. 


Note to the Editor

The Clonmel Drinking Water plant serves a population of 11,500 people with approximately 7,500 m3/day of drinking water.  The water is sourced from a remote upland mountainous area, the Comeragh Mountains.  Preliminary reports suggest that there are no known farmyards or septic tanks in this area.

Source Protection - In addition to adequate drinking water treatment, the risk of contaminating the raw water supply can be reduced by various source protection measures.  These include:

- Controlling access of animals to waters close to drinking water abstraction points;

- Ensuring that all on-site wastewater treatment systems, including septic tanks, are properly constructed and maintained;

- Ensuring that agricultural wastes and sewage sludge are landspread in accordance with good agricultural and environmental practice.