Council tells Clontarf residents boiled water safe to drink
RESIDENTS OF up to 1,400 houses in Clontarf in north Dublin remained unable to drink water from their taps last night due to the detection of high levels of bacteria in the system.
However, Dublin City Council said yesterday it had made significant progress in tackling the problem, and householders could now drink the water once it had been boiled.
The initial advice was not to use the tap water for drinking or cooking, but officials said, following further tests and discussion with the HSE, that boiled water was safe to use.
The problem arose last Thursday when routine testing by the central laboratory indicated high levels of bacteria in 16 houses in the area. Further sampling following work to correct the problem in these houses indicated that the contamination might have spread to 1,400 houses.
Tests on the water have ruled out E.coli or metals such as lead, and there have been no reports of ill health as a result of drinking the water.
However, executive city manager Tom Leahy said it was not possible to say exactly what type of bacteria had affected the supply
“The routine tests showed the presence of a coliform, which is a benign bacteria, but it is an indicator bacteria, meaning that it indicates evidence of mircobiological activity, and that shouldn’t be there.”
The cause of the problem was not known either, but Mr Leahy said it could be a result of warm weather. “There are no indications of a burst pipe or damage due to construction activity, but during the month of July there were quite high ground temperatures, which can raise the water temperature and increase biological activity.”
He said chlorine in the water system should have stopped this from presenting a problem, and the council did not yet know why this had not happened.
Testing and work to flush and disinfect the system will continue in coming days. Mr Leahy said test results in adjacent water supply zones confirmed the issue was localised to the St Lawrence supply area in Clontarf.
Leaflets have been distributed to all affected properties, and water tankers will be in the affected area of Clontarf to supply householders and businesses. Information on times and locations is available on dublincity.ie.
Buying bottled water: Businesses feel the pinch
Up to 1,400 homes and businesses were unable to drink tap water yesterday.
Water tankers were in place on Castle Avenue and St Lawrence Road in Clontarf.
Several businesses in Killester in north Dublin relied on bottled water and SuperValu bought in extra supplies.
“We have to use bottled water in the kitchen and bakery for washing and cooking. We can’t put the coffee machine on because it’s attached to the water mains,” said Robert Ward, manager of SuperValu in Killester.
“We had to buy in a lot more bottled water. We nearly ran out over the bank holiday. The shop can manage for another while, but using bottled water is expensive so it is not viable . . . in the long term. We use 150 litres of water to bake bread in store every day,” he said.
Daire Duignan, owner of the Beachcomber pub in Killester, said the lack of water was affecting business. “As a precaution we’re bringing our own water in. We bought water in the cash-and-carry. If this continues, we will have to close the kitchen.
“We’re paying over €40,000 in rates a year for this pub and water rates alone are €5,000 a year, so it’s frustrating for business owners,” he said.
Laura Gates from Vernon Park in Clontarf said that although her area was not affected, she was still concerned. “I bought a few five-litre bottles of water just in case. I’m not taking any chances because there’s the possibility it might contaminate other water in the area. I hope it’s not going to be a similar situation to Galway as they couldn’t switch their taps on for weeks,” she said.
Amy Flynn from Castle Road in Clontarf, said she did not receive a notice from Dublin City Council about the contamination. “It was only when I was in the shop and saw a lot of people buying the five-litre bottles of water. I’m a bit worried now because I drank my tap water. I’m worried that the elderly, who may not see many people, will drink the water because they aren’t aware that it’s contaminated,” she said.