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Thursday 21 November 2019

Water woes continue as boil notice set to run until Tuesday at least

Chemicals delivered to the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Chemicals delivered to the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

More than 600,000 residents in Dublin, Kildare and Meath will have to keep their kettles on the boil until next Tuesday at the earliest as efforts to ensure clean water in their taps continue to be made.

Fresh tests on water supplied by the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant are to take place over the weekend.

Three samples taken on consecutive days were tested and returned 'satisfactory' results but after an audit of the plant yesterday, it was decided new samples were needed to prove the plant was performing consistently.

Disappointed

"Work will continue over the weekend to complete the testing. The final test will be processed and analysed and results should be available on Tuesday," Irish Water said.

Minister Eoghan Murphy said he was extremely disappointed that the boil water notice could not be lifted given the major inconvenience and concern it was causing to people and businesses in the region.

"People in the affected areas have shown incredible patience and fortitude in the face of this ongoing major disruption to daily life and business, and I thank everyone for that," Mr Murphy said.

"Regretfully, the audit has found that more work is needed to make the Leixlip plant operate safely again. Irish Water must now progress these works without any delay."

Niall Gleeson, managing director of Irish Water, relayed his apologies. "Irish Water acknowledge and understand the impact of this boil water notice on the 600,000 people affected and we sincerely regret the inconvenience," he said.

The boil water notice was issued on Monday evening after heavy rain stirred up silt, sediment and other materials in Liffey waters that flow into the treatment plant. The outdated filters in the oldest and largest section of the plant failed to properly clean it.

That meant particles escaped through to the drinking water supply, bringing with them a risk of contamination by disease carrying parasites.

Work is under way to replace the filters but Irish Water has said that the job could take until next summer to finish and warned yesterday that further boil water notices could not be ruled over the winter months.

The same 600,000 people already had to boil their water for three days following an incident at the plant at the end of last month.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which carried out yesterday's audit, said the decision to continue the boil water notice was taken in agreement with the HSE.

"The treatment plant appears to have been operating satisfactorily since Wednesday evening," it said, but added: "Testing is ongoing to verify that the treatment barriers at the plant are fully effective."

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