Cryptosporidium in Ireland’s water supply

There seems to be a lot of Cryptosporidium in Ireland.

Irish Water has identified cryptosporidium contamination in Carraroe’s public supply in Connemara.

cryptoThe discovery came as ten thousand homes and businesses in Cork were issued with boil water notices over fears of contaminated drinking water.

The State utility has advised some 4,700 people dependent on the public supply in Carraroe to boil their water until further notice.

This follows a similar notice issued for Leitir Móir/Tír an Fhia in south and west Connemara in January.

Sinn Féín senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has criticised Irish Water for failing to upgrade the Carraroe scheme when it was directed to by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This supply has been substandard for years and the EPA have indicated for the last number of years that there has been insufficient protection for cryptosporidium, ”Senator Ó Clochartaigh said.

False positives or not? Scientist skeptical of Winnipeg water monitoring procedures

CBC News reports the boil water advisory was lifted more than 24 hours ago, but questions remain over how the samples at the heart of the Winnipeg-wide scare could’ve tested positive for bacteria and E. coli in the first place.

mi-rick-holley-1212Six routine water samples taken on Monday showed the presence of bacteria, and E. Coli in some cases. After resampling and retesting, samples came up negative and the city lifted the advisory Thursday.

Mayor Brian Bowman assured Winnipeggers tap water was safe, and always had been, as the original tests were proven to be false positives.

Rick Holley, a professor at the University of Manitoba and expert in food safety, said that while mistakes like this do happen, they are unacceptable when hundreds of thousands of lives may be impacted.

“I still had concerns at that time and still do that the false positives might not be scientifically discredited,” said Holley. “It’s all too easy to continue testing until you get the results you want and any results you don’t want you discard as being false. That’s inappropriate.”

Holley said the only way to be sure Winnipeg water is safe is to understand what caused the positive results earlier this week.

“Why were those six samples positive? There has to be a reason why and that has to be established,” said Holley.

One telling detail released by the city was that all of the samples that tested positive were handled by the same employee.

The city provided a list of possible explanations for how the tests came to be positive, including:

  • A contaminated water tap or container
  • The water being contaminated during sampling
  • Mistakes made at the lab during analysis

Holley said while he hopes the city provides more detailed answers and soon, he remains concerned about the city’s water monitoring procedures.

670K under boil water advisory after E. coli detected in Portland, Oregon, water

A citywide boil notice was issued for Portland, Oregon, after state health officials detected E. coli in the water supply.

The Portland Water Bureau said Friday that residents should boil all tap water used for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing and ice for at least one minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water on or after Tuesday should be dumped.

boil.waterThe notice, which also covers some suburban cities, affects about 670,000 people. It will remain in effect until tests show the water system is clean.

The samples that tested positive for bacteria were collected this week from two uncovered reservoirs at Mount Tabor. The Water Bureau said it collects about 240 bacterial samples per month throughout the system, and the test to determine the presence of bacteria takes 18 hours.

Boil-water advisory in Socorro, New Mexico; bad example of clear and concise information

I usually don’t write about boil-water advisories because they are unusually common and usually non-threatening. When people start getting sick, I get interested.

But I do have an interest in how boil-water advisories are communicated: Is the wording clear? Are the actions to be taken clearly stated? Are there graphics for those who can’t read? Is the advisory in multiple languages?

Socorro, New Mexico, home of the PhD pretty hair doctors and beauty salon (right), discovered E. coli in one of their four water wells and began distributing informational flyers. A local correspondent took a picture of the flyer and passed it along.