Irish Water investigating reports of change in taste to the drinking water in North Wicklow

Irish Water engineer

 Irish Water wishes to advise that investigations are ongoing at Vartry Water Treatment Plant following reports from some customers in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin City and North County Wicklow areas of an “earthy” taste and smell in their drinking water. 

 Irish Water can confirm that the drinking water produced at the plant receives full chlorination and Ultra-Violet (UV) disinfection, meaning it does not contain any harmful bacteria, viruses, or protozoa. 

 The water produced at the plant is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network. However following these reports of abnormal taste and odour, Irish Water has arranged additional sampling on top of our normal water quality sampling programme as a precaution and continues to keep the situation under close review.

 Whilst our investigations are ongoing, previous investigations of this nature have identified the source water as the possible cause of an earthy taste and this can in particular be due to the growth of algae in the area where water is abstracted. This can result in an earthy or musty taste / smell in the drinking water. While the taste and smell can be unpleasant, drinking water with an earthy or musty taste is typically harmless. The taste and smell may be compounded due to changes in raw water characteristics caused by seasonal changes and reduced levels in the raw water supply as we move from Summer to Autumn. 

 Kevin Love, Regional Asset Operations Lead at Irish Water said, “Irish Water would like to reassure customers that public health is our number one priority and drinking water produced at the water treatment plant is fully compliant with statutory drinking water regulations and is safe to drink. The water produced at the plant is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network and additional sampling and analysis is underway to establish the root cause of the change in taste and smell. We will continue to keep the situation under close review until normal drinking water supply is restored. We regret any inconvenience caused.”

 For more information on taste and odour issues in drinking water, customers can visit the Water Supply section of our website. Information on drinking water quality can be found in our drinking water quality section

Customers with queries or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should contact the Irish Water customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter @IWCare. 

 Irish Water is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.

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