Boil notice on Lough Talt lifted, but supply remains on the EPA’s remedial action list for Cryptosporidium and cancer-associated trihalomethanes 

Warning that supply may be reconnected to Charlestown if cryptosporidium detected in supply again.

Sligo News File.

Irish Water last week lifted the boil notice on the Lough Talt water scheme.

However, the water utility has said that if a reoccurrence of Cryptosporidium contamination is detected the supply will have to be connected back to the Charlestown scheme.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that the Lough Talt supply remains on the EPA’s Remedial Action List for both Cryptosporidium and trihalomethanes risk.

Trihalomethanes – a group of four chemicals including chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform – are byproducts of chlorination of water that contains natural organic matter. Taken up by the body by way of oral ingestion, skin absorption and inhalation exposure arising out of the use of tap water, trihalomethanes are associated with colon, bladder, and rectal cancer, adverse effects on the central nervous system, liver, kidneys and heart and potentially harmful reproductive outcomes.

In its 2017 drinking water report, the EPA have stated that Irish Water have indicated that action plans on trihalomethanes will be completed by 2020 in all public systems with the exception of the Lough Talt supply “where planning permission difficulties mean Irish Water have no completion date for the supply.”

The report also states that the European Commission “started a pilot infringement case against Ireland in 2015, (ref
7554/2015/ENVI) due to the number of public water supplies failing to meet the THMs standard.” It adds that “The  Commission is expected to make a decision on the infringement proceedings and a letter of formal notice will be delivered to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government when this happens.”


Government protected Geyer’s Whorl Snail at Lough Talt.

According to Irish water, a reduction in the formation of cancer-inducing trihalomethanes and a validated barrier against cryptosporidium will be possible if planning permission for a proposed upgrade at the Lough Talt supply is approved by Sligo County Council. Irish Water made the planning application in May 2018, to which county council responded on 19 July with a 29 point further information request, much of it focussed on preservation issues and the safeguarding of snails and crayfish

Three years ago, in 2015, Sligo County Council and the Planning Board rejected Irish Water plans for a state-of-the-art treatment plant downstream of the existing system because of the implications it would have for a government-backed EU order preserving species of snail and crayfish at the lake.

Had the council and planning board allowed the planned treatment plant to be constructed; it is believed the development would have successfully controlled the presence of the health-endangering microbial parasite Cryptosporidium and trihalomethanes in the distributed drinking water.

Lough Talt home to State guarded white-clawed crayfish

Lough Talt provides the water supply for more than 12,000 users – hotels, businesses and householders – in Ballymote, Ballisodare and Tubbercurry.