Flushed away in Mountmellick

THE water supply in Mountmellick will be disrupted fo rthe next two weeks to flush sediment out of the town’s water supply.

THE water supply in Mountmellick will be disrupted fo rthe next two weeks to flush sediment out of the town’s water supply.

A total of 2,500 leaflets were delivered to households last weekend by Laois County Council, advising not to use the discoloured water that will flow from taps in the hours after cleaning takes place, either for washing clothes or for babies’ bottles.

“Although the water should not pose a health risk, it is best to avoid drinking the water until it runs clear from the tap. Avoid washing clothes during the periods of flushing and for a few hours after the flushing period ends. Don’t wash clothes if there is a brown tint to the water. Plan ahead and try to do your laundry over the weekend to avoid the possibility of having stained clothes,” the water services section advises.

Though they say the water is safe to drink, they advise not to do so if it is discoloured.

“Don’t prepare baby food or formula if the water is discoloured. Use bottled water or pre-prepared food or formula if the water is discoloured. You can also boil the water for one minute to ensure safety. It’s often a good idea to use water stored in the fridge to drink.” the leaflet says.

The flushing will take place between 5am and 7am from next Monday to Thursday, November 19 to 22, and again from Monday to Thursday, November 26 to 29. It follows complaints about brown water by the public and Mountmellick Sinn Fein.

Council water engineer Wesley Wilkinson says this was caused by a natural build-up of sediment, which will be removed by the scouring procedure.

“Mountmellick was previously fed by the Catholes reservoir, which had sediment. It now comes from groundwater which has a concentration of iron and manganese. It will get considerably worse if we don’t do something now. We only expect to have to do this once every couple of years, but it depends on the mineral level,” he said.

The cleaning will be done across the entire network, starting from the reservoir in Derryguile. It will work by flushing high pressure water through the system, section by section, cleaning out the pipes.

“I hope the two weeks will give us sufficient time to address the problem, but more scouring may be done in a month or two,” Mr Wilkinson said.

Cllr Stephen Lynch welcomed the news.

“I welcome them doing it, and I am glad to see they notified people properly, as they committed to do so when we met. There is good co-operation on the matter,” he said.

People are being told to fully open their cold water taps in kitchens and bathrooms to flush the water out of their pipes. It should begin to run clear within a few minutes. If it does not run clear, the water services say to contact them at 8674357 and a maintenance crew will be dispatched to investigate further.