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IRISH WATER UPDATE: Boil Water Notice remains in place

Irish Water Press Release

17 November 2021

Download a map of the affected areas here: map.pdf

Download translated public health instructions here: Polish | Latvian | Lithuanian | Brazilian Portuguese | Romanian

Irish Water and Longford County Council would like to remind customers supplied by Longford Central Public Water Supply that the Boil Water Notice issued on 3 November 2021 in consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), remains in place. The Boil Water Notice was issued to protect the health of 17,500 customers following a deterioration in the raw water quality which compromised the cryptosporidium barrier at the treatment plant. Areas affected include Longford Town; Newtown Forbes; Balinalee; part of Edgeworthstown; part of Drumlish; part of Killashee and surrounding areas. A map of the area is available on the Water Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website. 

Irish Water's primary focus is and always will be the protection of public health. As part of the process to lift the Boil Water Notice, Irish Water and Longford County Council are progressing with repairs onsite, flushing of the network and sampling of water supplies. This will support an EPA audit of the water treatment plant next week. Irish Water would like to reassure customers that our drinking water experts are working with our colleagues in Longford County Council and in consultation with the HSE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lift the Boil Water Notice as quickly and as safely as possible. In the meantime, all customers on this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice. 

In line with HSE COVID-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required for handwashing.

John Gavin, Asset Operations Lead with Irish Water, has acknowledged the impact of this notice on the community and regrets the inconvenience on impacted customers, adding. “Public health is Irish Water’s number one priority and we would like to assure customers that the notice has been put in place to protect customers. We are working closely with Longford County Council to restore drinking water quality for all impacted customers and lift the Boil Water Notice as quickly as it is safe to do so, in consultation with the HSE. Works are currently underway at Lough Forbes plant to increase its capacity, provide increased resilience, and safeguard the supply for the future,” he added.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice and are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled. Those who have concerns can contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278.

Customers can check if they are impacted by this Boil Water Notice by visiting the Water Quality section of our website and entering their property’s Eircode in the search bar. 

We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking;
  • Drinks made with water;
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating;
  • Brushing of teeth;
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.

What actions should be taken:

  • Use water prepared for drinking when preparing foods that will not be cooked (e.g. washing salads);
  • Water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing and flushing of toilets but not for brushing teeth or gargling;
  • Boil water by bringing to a vigorous, rolling boil (e.g. with an automatic kettle) and allow to cool. Cover and store in a refrigerator or cold place. Water from the hot tap is not safe to drink. Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink;
  • Caution should be taken when bathing children to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water;
  • Prepare infant feeds with water that has been brought to a boil once and cooled. Do not use water that has been re-boiled several times. If bottled water is used for the preparation of infant feeds it should be boiled once and cooled. If you are using bottled water for preparing baby food, be aware that some natural mineral water may have high sodium content. The legal limit for sodium in drinking water is 200mg per litre. Check the label on the bottled water to make sure the sodium or `Na' is not greater than 200mg per litre. If it is, then it is advisable to use a different type of bottled water. If no other water is available, then use this water for as short a time as possible. It is important to keep babies hydrated. 
  • Great care should be taken with boiled water to avoid burns and scalds as accidents can easily happen, especially with children.

Updates are available on the Supply and Service Updates section of our website including a map of the affected area, on Twitter @IWCare and via our customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278. Customers are advised to set their location on our website to view updates specific to their water supply. Further information on using water during a Boil Water Notice is available on www.water.ie/bwn