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NUIG helps develop drinking water disinfection




Joint research between NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology has developed high-intensity pulsed light as a novel technology for disinfecting drinking water.

The research has come up with an innovative technology that addresses a key drinking water quality challenge and at the same time provides green economic opportunities for Ireland.

“We are all aware that high quality, safe, sufficient drinking water is essential to daily life, for example for drinking and in food preparation, and that finding solutions to threats to drinking water quality is an imperative,” said Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ireland has almost 1000 public water supplies, serving 82.1% of the population; the remainder of the population is supplied by group water schemes (6.5%), small private supplies (0.8%) and private wells (10.6%).

At the beginning of this year, more than 20,000 people – on 20 public water supplies – were affected by boil water notices.  The EPA’s current Remedial Action List (May 2015) lists 36 schemes as having “Inadequate treatment for Cryptosporidium” serving 209,015 people.

The recent EPA drinking water report indicated that E.coli was detected in 10 public water supplies, 63 small private supplies and 32 private group water schemes in 2013.  Consequently, this research will be a timely addition to the work in solving these issues.

Professor Neil Rowan, Athlone Institute of Technology, lead investigator of this project, said: “The development of this novel technology enhances our capacity to effectively treat drinking water that may be contaminated with harmful parasites and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Pulsed light constitutes a radically new means of both energy delivery and efficient ultraviolet disinfection. Pulses of ultraviolet-rich light can be delivered at up to 100 pulses per second causing irreversible damage to the treated waterborne Cryptosporidium parvum parasite, which is resistant to conventional chlorination. Pulsed Light constitutes a next generation approach to ultraviolet light disinfection.”

The research has been conducted in collaboration with Dr Eoghan Clifford from NUI Galway who is an international expert in wastewater treatment and management.

Key recommendations include:

■ Deploying Pulsed Light as a bolt-on technology will improve the destruction of harmful parasites that may not be eliminated or removed during conventional drinking water treatment processes.

■ Implementing this Pulsed Light technology should also be considered for private water supplies.

This research was conducted in the Bioscience Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology and in NUI Galway. The full report is available on the EPA website.


Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.

Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.

Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.

“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.

“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.

Without advertising revenue and people buying the paper, this website would not be here. To buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95, click HERE. Thanks for your support.

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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.

But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.

“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.

“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.

“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”

The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.

Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thanks for your support!

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Galway CIty Council takes ‘wait and see’ approach to emergency cuts

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A revised, emergency budget with swingeing cuts to non-essential services may have to be introduced by Galway City Council if the Covid-19 crisis is prolonged and income from commercial rates, parking and rents from social housing dries up.

However, the local authority for now is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, and has no immediate plans to introduce a ‘slash and burn’ budget.

Some 38% of the Council’s income of €100 million comes from commercial rates paid by businesses, which in 2020 equates to €38 million.

About 60% of all the rates collected – roughly €22.5 million – comes from the hospitality and general retail sector, which has been most badly hit by mandatory and voluntary closures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Government has confirmed that businesses have a three-month ‘holiday’ on paying commercial rates, although pressure is mounting from business groups for rates bills relating to the period of Covid-19 closures to be written off.

Regardless of the outcome of that lobbying, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council concedes that some city businesses simply will not survive this turbulent time – and that will have a knock-on effect on the local authority’s income.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Remember, without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thank you for your support. 

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