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.