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Irish Water’s Lough Mask Water Treatment Plant Being Audited

Irish Water's Lough Mask Water Treatment Plant Being AuditedThe Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out a full and comprehensive audit of the Lough Mask Water Treatment Plant, where cryptosporidium was detected in treated water last week.

A boil water notice was issued last Friday, 2 September, 2016, when routine sampling at the water plant, which serves 46,600 people in areas including Castlebar, Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis and Claremorris turned up the presence of the crypto parasite.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that that can cause a respiratory and gastrointestinal illness called cryptosporidiosis that may present as a diarrhoeal with or without a persistent cough in immunocompetent hosts.

Cryptosporidiosis is typically an acute, short-term infection, but it can recur through reinfection in immunocompetent hosts, and can become severe or life-threatening in immunocompromised individuals.

Many treatment plants that take raw water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs for public drinking water production use conventional filtration technologies. Cryptosporidium is highly resistant to chlorine disinfection, but with high enough concentrations and contact time, Cryptosporidium inactivation will occur with chlorine dioxide and ozone treatment.

According to Irish Water, an incident management team was set up on Friday and auditing and testing of water from the treatment plant had been taking place across the network over the weekend.

Mayo County Council and the Health Service Executive will combine the results of the audits done over the weekend and the one done today, and will only be able to decide the next steps and speculate as to when the boil water notice will be lifted once all of the data is in.

According to Sean Corrigan, regional information specialist at Irish Water, “Public health is our number one priority and while we investigate the source of this contamination it is imperative that people adhere to the boil water notice. We will be contacting priority customers supplied by this scheme who have self-declared to Irish Water directly by telephone.

Irish Water is working closely with Mayo County Council to investigate all aspects of the scheme. A continuous sampling and testing programme has been put in place.” [Source: wwtonline.co.uk]

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