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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley calls on NI Water to confirm safety of drinking water

River Bann

River Bann, Portglenone


North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has issued a statement on Thursday (14th September), calling on NI Water to confirm the safety of drinking water.


It comes after Mr Paisley was contacted by a number of residents and businesses in the Portglenone area who stated drinking water was "unclean and undrinkable".


In response to today's concerns raised from constituents in Portglenone, the North Antrim MP said:


"Today my office has been called by residents in the Portglenone area regarding the cleanliness of drinking water.



"Recently the Bann river was effected by blue-green algae. However, today I have received calls about drinking water in the area being unclean and undrinkable from businesses and residents.


"I have made immediate contact with the water service chief executive and asked that they immediately inquire into this and confirm the safety and cleanliness of drinking water supply and if necessary provide emergency drinking and washing supply to the area."



Owner of Bannside Pharmacy in Portglenone, Eoghan O'Brien shared his concern with Mr Paisley.


“I'm deeply concerned about the blue-green algae in Lough Neagh and the River Bann which is a significant threat to health and wellbeing," said Mr O'Brien.


"One of the most significant advances in public health over this past 100 years has been clean drinking water. Forty per cent of the drinking water in Northern Ireland comes from Lough Neagh.


"I myself was unable to drink my filtered tap water this morning.”


Councillor Tom Gordon

Councillor Tom Gordon


DUP Cllr Tom Gordon, the local councillor for the area, added:


“I have seen the evidence of this blue-green algae first hand and this is indeed an issue of serious concern for the residents of Portglenone.


"I have contacted our council Environmental officers to ensure that they are aware of this bloom within our river network and that action is taken to address this situation.”



Love Ballymena reported earlier this week of other residents elsewhere in County Antrim who were concerned over what appeared to be algae blooms evident in samples of collected tap water. One found a green substance at the bottom of a water filter jug, while another found the same at the bottom of a water tank of a coffee machine.


NI Water at that time told Love Ballymena it was "confident" of water quality from it's treatment facilities.


NI Water has issued a further statement on Thursday afternoon, saying:


"NI Water’s number one priority is the quality and safety of your drinking water.


"We can assure our customers that the water supplied from all our Water Treatment Works, which includes water abstracted from Lough Neagh, is safe to drink and use as normal.



"On a daily basis, we monitor our raw water intakes from all sources, at our treatment works and at customer taps to ensure that drinking water supplied meets strict quality standards.


"NI Water has a robust testing and sampling system which sees over 120,000 samples lifted and analysed each year. Sampling and analysis are carried out 365 days per year. Samples are taken from customer homes, reservoirs and treatment plants.


"Drinking water supplied from the water treatment works which use Lough Neagh as their raw water sources, are designed with the potential for algae to be present and robust treatment processes are in place to manage this effectively.



"We increase the frequency of algae monitoring over the summer months when the risk for algae in the raw water would generally be higher.


"Increased levels of algae can cause an unusual taste and smell to water from your tap but does not pose a risk to health. The taste and smell can be earthy and/or musty.


"Therefore, while the water from your tap can be used in the normal way, we fully appreciate some customers might notice a difference in the taste and/or odour to their drinking water at this time."

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