health concerns | 

Inishbofin residents may have been drinking contaminated water for month without realising

A ‘do not consume’ notice was issued late

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Ciara O'

Residents in Inishbofin, Co Galway, may have been drinking contaminated water for almost a month as a ‘do not consume’ notice was issued late.

On September 3, Irish Water issued the notice for the Inishbofin public water supply, saying that it had elevated levels of manganese.

Two days ago it re-issued the notice, adding that following investigations, the water quality may have failed to meet regulatory standards since August 11.

On its website, Irish Water said: “Following investigations onsite, Irish Water and Galway County Council advise that elevated manganese levels may have occurred prior to the imposition of the ‘do not consume’ notice and that water from the public supply was potentially not meeting regulatory standards from August 11, 2022.

"Irish Water has consulted extensively with the HSE and the advice for anyone who may have consumed the water from the public supply from the August 11 onwards and has health concerns, is to contact their GP for advice.

"Further information is also contained in a HSE bulletin being shared directly with all residents.

“Drinking water will generally become unpalatable (discoloured with an unpleasant taste) at levels above 50 µg/l which will deter you from drinking it.

"Boiling the water will not make it safe to consume.”

The notice means that residents in Inishbofin cannot use their water for drinking, making ice, brushing their teeth, or preparing uncooked food. However, it can still be used for bathing.

Tankered and bottled water is being made available for those affected from the island’s old pier and will be replenished twice a week for as long as necessary.

Irish Water apologised for the inconvenience and said a specialist contractor will be on site next week to “replace components of the filtration process which have become compromised as a result of the poor raw water quality”.

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