850,000 people placed at risk from failings at Gorey and Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plants
In Ireland the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the supervisory authority over Irish Water and to ensure the provision of safe public water supplies. In the recent past two significant adverse incidents at the Gorey and Ballymore Eustace water treatment plants, which put the health of approx. 885,000 people at risk, highlighted significant failings in the oversight management in these plants.
Speaking about the potential for serious illness from unsafe drinking water Liam Moloney Personal Injury Solicitor and Vice President of the European Personal Injury Lawyers Association (PEOPIL) said today “audits by Irish Water and other operators of water treatment plants must be intensified to ensure that the quality of drinking water from public supplies remains high to ensure compliance with bacterial and chemical limits.”
Mr. Moloney continued “the large number of boil water notices across Ireland are affecting an increasing number of consumers and are posing a significant health risk. The latest publication from the EPA shows that the population now served by “at risk supplies” has increased by 575,000 and the length of time it is now taking to implement improvements at supply sources is not acceptable. t is imperative that whatever additional resources are required to make our drinking water safe are put in place as the health risks to the public are too great from contaminated water. “
Warning about the risk of contracting a serious illness such as legionnaires disease he said “people should be warned that they can contract this disease from drinking unsafe water. This is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. People can get this infection when they breath in tiny water droplets (aerosols) or droplet nuclei (particles left after the water has evaporated), which are contaminated with elevated concentrations of legionella bacteria. The likelihood of contracting legionnaires disease primarily relates to the level of contamination in the water source, the ability of the water source to generate aerosols and the susceptibility of the person exposed to the contaminated water.
While it is a low risk it can occur and the symptoms of the disease are like those for flu with initially high temperature, fever, chills, muscle pains and headache. This may be followed by dry cough and breathing difficulties leading eventually to pneumonia”.
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