Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1199)

Thomas Byrne


1199. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the recent recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to Irish Water on considering installing ultraviolet disinfection to further ensure drinking water quality and the protection of public health at the Leixlip treatment plant. [45579/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

EPA audits of public drinking water supplies are an important way of checking how Irish Water and local authorities are performing in compliance with Drinking Water Regulations. These regulations provide the EPA with supervisory powers in relation to public water supplies.

I am aware of the EPA recommendation in its recent audit report in relation to the incident at the Leixlip treatment plant that led to the issuing of a boil water notice. The EPA recommended that “Irish Water should assess the feasibility of installing ultraviolet disinfection as an additional treatment barrier to Cryptosporidium/Giardia at Leixlip water treatment plant, and should submit the outcome of this assessment to the EPA”.

This was one of a number of recommendations made by the EPA following the incident and following an earlier audit from March this year, including the installation of pH correction, filter upgrade works and the installation of automatic shut-down systems. It will be a matter for Irish Water to comply with the recommendation to assess the feasibility of installing UV treatment and to discuss the matter further with the EPA.

It should be noted that, in view of the scale and impact of the boil water notice and in the public interest, I have also asked the EPA to report to me on the conclusions of the latest investigations and any findings which may require a broader policy response. I will be meeting with the Managing Director of Irish Water and the CEO of Fingal County Council once I have received this report.