Laois County Council have poured cold water on the suggestion of Mountmellick being a pilot project for an electronic water softening system.
The suggestion was made by Mountmellick Sinn Féin, who met with officials from the water department recently to highlight complaints about excessive lime in the town’s water, as well as the presence of lead and flouride, and the brown colour of the water.
Laois County Council agreed to look into water softening on a large scale for the town, but now say the project is now a ‘non-runner’ unless new technology is designed.
Senior Executive Engineer Jack Creegan explained why.
“We checked other local authorities, but no water authority is softening water in the plant, on a large scale. There are electronic systems, but only for individual homes. We are not aware of any big plant using these. Most systems use salt, so there would be a health issue with those, as you can’t drink water that has been softened. If someone came up with a solution, we would definitely use it,” he said.
Mr Creegan emphasised that ‘hard water’ or water with a high lime content, is safe to drink.
“It doesn’t break any of our EU drinking water regulations. The World Health Organisation actually says it has a beneficial effect. The big problem is kettles and showers,” he says, adding that it is up to the individual household to install their own system.
He didn’t disagree with Sinn Féin’s claim that that salt based softeners have a detrimental effect on septic tanks, which many town houses still use.
“They could be right there,” he said.
Anyone with concerns about water quality should contact the council’s water services section at 8674357.