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Frequently asked questions
Q. How can the HSE be sure that the water is safe?
A. The HSE has always been very clear on what criteria would need to be met before lifting the water boil notice. They are
- a marked decline in human disease: that is a return to at least the low levels usually seen at this time of year, for several weeks
- effective water treatment to remove Cryptosporidium
- clean water, safe for human consumption, that the system is robust and that the water is of acceptable quality
In relation to the Luimnagh water supply, the HSE is now satisfied these conditions have been met.
- The number of confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis in Galway city and county since January 1st 2007, remains at 238. This figure has remained constant for a number of weeks now.
- The improved water treatment process is now in place at the Luimnagh waterworks includes the installation of an additional water treatment process for the removal of Cryptosporidium.
- An enhanced and more intensive water sampling & testing programme to verify the water quality has been in place for a number of weeks and the results have verified that the that the system is robust and that the water is of acceptable quality
Q. Will the HSE continue to monitor the level of illness?
A. The HSE will continue to monitor the level of cryptosporidiosis in the population
Q. Why is the HSE in a position to lift the notice in parts of the county and not the city
A. The area that was covered by the water boil notice, which was put in place on March 15th is supplied by two different water supplies – Luimnagh, which supplies an area of County Galway to the East of Lough Corrib and Terryland, which supplies Galway City and part of the county to the West of the city, extending out to Barna and Moycullen.
The HSE gave three very clear conditions which had to be met before the boil water notice would be lifted, as outlined above. The HSE is now satisfied that the water treatment plant at Luimnagh has now met the requirements in terms of implementing an effective treatment system. In relation to the Terryland treatment plant, Galway City Council is continuing with their plans for effective water treatment.
Q. What about food premises?
A. The HSE West Environmental Health Department and other agencies work very closely with food premises in Galway city and county on an ongoing basis. Those premises in the area where the water boil notice will be lifted will, following a number of measures, be able to use the tap water. These measures include-
- Restarting and flushing any water using fixture or item of equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification. This may vary from fixture to fixture.
- Consulting the facilities engineer and / or the manufacturer when restarting the equipment. This advice particularly applies to ice making machines and mineral mixing units
- Cleaning and disinfecting all fixtures and equipment and rinsing well prior to using for food operations
A letter is being circulated to all food premises in the area where the boil water notice is being lifted to advise them of these measures. If food premises have further queries the Environmental Health Department and other food regulatory agencies will be available to advise.
Q. What about sick people?
A. HSE West is advising people who may have impaired immune systems, for whom illness may be a greater risk, should continue to follow their doctor’s advice on boiling water