Water use restrictions lifted in Ennis


Clare County Council has confirmed that water use restrictions applying to over 30,000 customers in Ennis and its environs are being lifted.

As a result of recent intensive rainfall, the quality of raw water entering the Ennis Water Supply Source at Drumcliffe deteriorated significantly to a point where its treatment could not be accommodated in the quantities required to respond to demand from consumers.

Following consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), Clare County Council is to partially bypass the filtration system with a view to increasing the quantity of water that can be dispatched to consumers. The move is designed to replenish the storage levels in reservoirs and restore supply to all consumers and ensure that critical areas such as hospitals and fire service have an adequate volume of supply.

"In reaching this decision, the Council, EPA and HSE are conscious that some of the water being supplied to consumers is unfiltered at the moment. However, all three parties are satisfied that any risk from a public health point of view can be kept to a minimum by full implementation of the partial boil notice to vulnerable groups which remains in place" - explained Tom Tiernan, Ennis Town Engineer.

He added - "HSE advice is that although bypassing some water around the water filtration system introduces the potential risk of cryptosporidium to vulnerable groups, the need to maintain a critical volume of water supply for personal hygiene is a higher priority for public health.

"Therefore, vulnerable groups are reminded that, as a precaution, they should continue to boil tap water at this time, or use alternative supplies.  Vulnerable groups include patients who are immuno-compromised, infants, pre-school children and visitors to Ennis. Institutions serving vulnerable people should also continue to boil tap water."

Commenting on the background to the water pressure problem, Mr. Tiernan said - "Following on from erratic weather patterns and intensive intermittent rainfall over the past two weeks or so, the interim membrane treatment plant started to become clogged much more regularly than normal, with the result that its capacity to provide filtered water for distribution reduced by up to 40%. As a result, reservoir levels have been dropping since Saturday morning last and, consequently, the level of service to consumers has been deteriorating.

"It will take a number of days to replenish reservoir levels and to reach a point where service levels will be restored to that which pertained before the weekend.

"Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council sincerely regret any serious inconvenience that has been caused to consumers over the past few days and which will, unfortunately, persist to some degree over the coming days. Every possible effort is being made on a round-the-clock basis to ensure the restoration of normal services as soon as possible" - he concluded.