Irish Water to attend Limerick council meeting over contaminated water

By David Raleigh

Irish Water are to be formally requested to attend a meeting of Limerick City Council to hear concerns over harmful elevated chemicals levels in the supply and about the strength of the network.

The network in Limerick city has experienced at least five known burst water main pipes in the past two weeks leaving thousands of people without water for long periods.

The north side of the city has also experienced levels of the chemical Lead greater than safe EU standards, resulting in homeowners in Ballynanty being advised to stop drinking the supply.

A week prior to the first known elevated levels of lead, residents in Ballynanty reported discoloured water in the drinking supply.

Today, Councillor Cian Prendiville, Anti Austerity Alliance, said: "Two weeks ago, following a number of serious problems with the water network in Limerick, I requested that Irish Water attend the next meeting of the Limerick City and County Council, or Limerick Metropolitan District, to explain the causes of these problems. I have now been informed that Kieran Lehane, Director of Services, is to formally request Irish Water's attendance at a council meeting."

Cllr Prendiville, who has been a staunch opponent to the installation of water metres, asking instead that the installation funding be spent on upgrading the water network, said that from today public drinking water taps would be available in Ballynanty.

"I have also been informed that in response to the current problems of lead in the water, public taps are being installed in Ballynanty today, which can be accessed 24/7 by residents directly, whilst the water crisis continues," he added.

Mr Prendiville said the current water "crisis" in Ballynanty "only further underlines the mess that is the water network".

"Whilst our water mains are bursting, and our pipes are made from lead, or are lined with asbestos, all the Government are doing is spending money on water meters. Over €500m is being spent on meters, whilst there is no money or plan in place to replace and improve our ancient water infrastructure," he added.

"Not only is this network leaking, and bursting, but in the case of Ballynanty it has meant undrinkable water was being delivered to the residents for months, originally due to it being under-treated, and now due to it being contaminated with lead," Cllr Prendiville added.

"Rather than upgrading the water network, or fixing the leaks, all Irish Water and the Government care about is putting in meters and charging us. Well, I assure them, their water charges will be met with huge resistance, and non-payment across the city, as people are totally fed up with these stealth taxes," he said.

Irish Water said the Council had dropped letters into 400 homes in the Ballynanty area, telling householders not to drink the water or use it to prepare food until further notice.

"They can continue to use the water for sanitary purposes – flushing toilets, washing clothes etc. The Council are organising standpipes for drinking water supply in the area. It is proposed to man them from 8am to 8pm each day over the next few days," the company stated.

"There is a main rehab planned for the area and Irish Water is bringing the timelines of the project forward and it is now expected this will begin in the next week," the company added.

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