Thursday, August 13, 2020

Irish Water and Mayo County Council are appealing to residents, businesses and visitors to Achill Island to conserve water. Demand for water remains high and the ‘Do Not Consume’ notice that was issued for the whole island and parts of the adjacent mainland last Friday remains in place.

Irish Water and Mayo County Council would like to thank customers who have listened to and acted on our conservation plea and appeal to everyone on the island to conserve water where possible to ensure a continuous supply for everyone for essential handwashing and hygiene purposes.

Explaining further, Ger Greally, Irish Water, said: “Demand for water on Achill Island is 50 per cent higher than it was this time last year and the treatment plant cannot produce enough water to meet this demand.

“The water treatment plant at Acorrymore was designed to produce 1.9 million litres per day but the demand peaked at over three million litres per day last weekend. Water usage has continued to be high this week and until the demand returns to normal levels, we will not be in a position to lift the Do Not Consume notice,” Ger has cautioned.

“Irish Water and Mayo County Council are working hard to find solutions to meet the increase in demand but with unprecedented levels of visitors to the island it is proving difficult,” he added.

There are 19 reservoirs on Achill Island where water is stored and distributed across the island. Water was tankered to some reservoirs serving the Slievemore and Dugort areas this week from other parts of Mayo after customers experienced water outages.

Explaining the technicalities of the situation Ger added: “On Friday night a Do Not Consume notice was issued as a result of a further increase in demand on the plant alongside an increase in temperatures which impacted the water treatment process. This resulted in the increase in aluminuim and turbidity. Similar to many treatment plants around the country, aluminium sulphate (alum) is used as a coagulant to solidify the organics into a sludge blanket. The sludge blanket lifted allowing for excess alum to spill into the supply necessitating an immediate Do Not Consume notice.

“While demand and temperatures remain high, the sludge blanket continues to rise every day.

“In terms of a resolution the demand is still in excess of supply even with the Do Not Consume in place and we are asking both residents and visitors to conserve water wherever possible to reduce demand.”

There are 29 tankers providing alternative water supplies in place across Achill and customers are advised that this water must be boiled before use as a precautionary measure. It is important to continue to follow the HSE guidance when collecting water including social distancing and hand hygiene.

Vulnerable customers who have contacted Irish Water requesting bottled water have been facilitated by Mayo County Council and the Civil Defence. Any vulnerable customers who have concerns can contact the customer care team on 1850 278 278.

An incident management team comprising members from Irish Water and Mayo County Council are meeting daily to assess the situation and investigate options to increase the supply of water through the network.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have confirmed that the water is safe for animal consumption.

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