06 Jul 2022

Irish Water under pressure over seven month boiled water notice in Laois community

Up to 50 homes in Laois town hit with Boil Water Notice for the last two weeks

Laois community on a Boil Water Notice since 2020

A Laois community has been putting up with a boil water notice since last year but Irish Water responded only after Laois County Council was alerted, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr Ben Brennan was critical of the State-owned utility at the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting where he tabled a motion calling on the coouncil to make the public water supply safe at The Strand, Ballickmoyler. 

He also questioned the previous spending on the treatment works and wondered where the money had been spent if the water could not be consumed.

A written reply from the council’s housing and water section outlined the utility's response and said residents would not be able to drink the water until the summer.

“Update works have commenced to increase the contact time of disinfection by chlorination by installing a new clear water tank and improved telemetry alarms. Installation work should be completed by the end of April 2021 with commissioning by the end of May 2021. The boiled water notice can then be lifted in consultation with Irish Water and the HSE,” said the reply from Trevor Hennessy, Acting Senior Engineer in the council's planning and water section.

Cllr Brennan outlined the situation he and residents have faced in trying to get Irish Water to act.

“This water station has been closed down for nearly seven months and there was a  lot of money spent on this already. What was the money used for. It was completely done up,” he said.

Cllr Brennan praised one of the council’s senior officials for intervening and led to work commencing in recent days.

“I rang Simon Walton (Director of Services at the council) but he did not know there was a problem. Only for his good work, there would have been nothing done,” he said.

He said the issue is an example of how the utility responds to representations.

“I called Irish Water at 6 pm on one Friday and was told that the offices were closed until Monday at 9 am on an answering machine...It was a very poor answer. Irish Water is a letdown,” he said.

Cllr Padraig Fleming supported his colleague. 

District Cathaoirleach, Cllr Aisling Moran said estates in Arles and Killeen have no water. She said new systems must be installed if a treatment supply is not functioning. 

“Do something because in some cases they are doing nothing,” she said.

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