The water quality status is moving from advisory status to safe as our test results continue to indicate the water quality is safe.
We invite any of our members to contact us with any concerns or questions they may have and while the scheme has made every effort to communicate the progress we have compiled a brief summary of events that may clarify the sequence of events.
On the 5th June the Glen Agua operators at the Kiltiernan Group Water Scheme treatment plant noticed a deterioration in the raw water quality entering the plant. Glen Agua are responsible for the quality of the water and they continued to monitor the situation. The water purification system increased the amount of chlorine to ensure the water quality entering the KGWS scheme was clean and safe. Glen Agua confirmed that the treated water supply leaving the treatment plant was safe to consume. On the 8th June Glan Agua Process Team came on site to investigate the issue and to provide support on site. The team optimized the coagulant dose allowing a reduction in chlorine usage.
Over the following days it became clear from the raw water test results (untreated water) that contaminants within the raw water were significantly elevated in comparison to what would usually have been seen.
Raw water turbidity and colour were above the design limits of the plant at multiple times over this period and the plant was treating raw water far in excess of what it was designed to cater for. However at all times during the raw water event, the UV was within its validation and reservoir chlorine remained within its band limits. This simply means that the plant remained capable of treating bacterial contaminants.
The board of management took this extremely seriously and sought advice from our consultant hydrologist, Pamela Bartley, our advisory engineers, Ryan Hanley, Galway County Council, the environmental health section of the HSE and Willie Treacy, our health and safety consultant from Safe-T-Group. Ryan Hanleys advice was that “Given that free Chlorine Residual appears to have been maintained in addition to validated UV disinfection we do not consider a boil water notice to be required at this time but we are monitoring the situation closely.” On the 8th June the board of management took the decision to issue an advisory notice through the schemes website following reports of elevated chlorine odours within the network. The scheme took this decision as the colour and odour of the water was not of a standard that our members are used to.
Over the following days the treated test results continued to show the water was safe to drink and the raw water test results indicated the raw water was returning to a “normal” state of previously seen levels. The treated water colour and turbidity remained low and the UV Intensity within the treatment plant increased indicating an improvement to the treated water quality. Crucially both plant and reservoir chlorine stabilised.
As the quality levels continued to stabilise, the scheme scoured the network and when the purging of the line was complete we brought the water quality status back to Safe on the 22nd June.
This whole experience has highlighted the importance of us reviewing the pressures which may impact on the borehole source.
In conclusion, the volume of activity to ensure the water was safe for our members to drink was immense and the board of management were working continuously in the background to ensure all our members remained safe. Our scheme manager, Michael John Murphy, was front and centre dealing with this issue and coordinated the flow of information from both test results and our consultants. Once again we invite any of our members to contact us with any concerns or questions they may have and we hope this post provided some level of clarity.