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18 Aug 2022

Eels detected in Carlow drinking water supply

Eels in Carlow drinking water supply

Eels in Carlow drinking water supply

Several eels were discovered in a County Carlow public water supply, an Environmental Protection Agency Report (EPA) has found.

The audit of the Carlow North Regional water supply zone on June 23 flagged that "the Cryptosporidium failure detected in the final water sample" was most likely due to a "deterioration in raw water quality."

Cryptosporidium is a parasite this lives in the intestines of animals and can cause watery diarrhoea with or without a persistent cough in humans with a compromised immune system.

This failure was stated as being a result of "significant deficiencies and pressures on the treatment processes" at the Rathvilly Water Treatment Plant.

EPA Programme Manager Noel Byrne told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One this morning:

"While the water is safe today, we want to make sure it is safe for the future. There are a number of deficiencies at the plant that we want Irish Water to address. We are waiting on them to get a plan in place for us by September 30."

The eels were located in the early stages of the treatment process and were not found within the final drinking supply, despite making it past the water filters.

One of the deficiencies to be addressed in the upgrade works as highlighted by the report is the improvement of these filters to ensure "aquatic life cannot get into this stage."

Along with the filter media, where the 20cm silvery eels were discovered, chlorination offers an added layer of protection.
Including Carlow North Regional, there are currently 53 water supplies on the EPA's remedial action list, serving 450,000 people.

Mr Byrne added: "We can ensure your listeners that it was the early stage of the process. You are not going to see an eel emerge from the tap."

"It is an old plant and there are deficiencies that need to be upgraded. There was no more Cryptosporidium detected thankfully. These works are now on our remedial action list and in fairness, Irish Water do take it very seriously and they do address them."

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