Geosmin is a naturally occurring compound and is not harmful to health
Uisce Éireann has confirmed that the drinking water microbiological and chemical analysis carried out on water produced at its water treatment plants serving Co Kildare is compliant with drinking water regulations and safe to drink.
Specialist results received following ongoing testing of the Raw Water for the drinking water supplying customers in Athy, Newbridge, Kildare, Kilmeague, Robertstown, Allenwood, Blackwood, Prosperous, Derrinturn and surrounding areas has indicated the presence of low levels of a naturally occurring substance called Geosmin.
While Geosmin can result in some people detecting an earthy, musty smell and taste from their drinking water, it is not harmful to human health.
Geosmin is a naturally occurring organic substance produced by algae found in lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs.
It can be smelled at very low concentrations. Seasonal increases in naturally occurring algae or bacteria in water sources can cause a rise in Geosmin levels above the taste and odour threshold for some people.
Water produced at its treatment plants is tested daily in conjunction with extensive monitoring in the distribution network and is safe to drink.
Speaking about the detection of Geosmin in the drinking water, Kevin Love, Regional Asset Operations Lead at Uisce Éireann said “Our primary focus is the protection of public health and we would like to reassure customers that the water coming from the drinking water plants serving Co Kildare is safe to drink.”
“We understand the concerns raised by some customers in relation to the smell or taste of their drinking water.
"While the smell and taste can be unpleasant for some customers, Geosmin is not toxic or harmful and the water remains safe to drink. As a precaution, we have increased testing on these supplies and are keeping the situation under close review," he added.
Further information on Geosmin and drinking water quality can be found on its dedicated drinking water quality section here
Customers with queries or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should contact the Uisce Éireann customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 or via Twitter @IWCare.