By Eoin Ryan
Work in Dunshaughlin is expected to cause traffic disruption over the next few weeks as 700 metres of old water mains is being replaced. The Irish Water Contractor contacted businesses affected by this and sent out letter drops.
This is part of Irish Water’s national Leakage Reduction Programme which hopes to greatly reduce the amount of leaks through Irish water mains. This programme represents an investment of over €500 million between 2017 and the end of 2021. Irish Water is investing a further €600 million up to the end of 2024 to reduce leakage and replace old pipes on the water network.
Matt Thomson, Leakage Reduction Programme Regional Lead with Irish Water, said “The new water mains will improve water quality and reduce the high level of leakage in the area, and increase security of supply and reliability.”
In 2018 the rate of leakage nationally was 46%, and was down to 38% by 2021. Irish Waters hope to reduce the national leakage rate down to 32% by the end of 2024.
Matt Thomson said short-term water interruptions may occur, but “The project team will ensure that customers are given a minimum of 48 hours’ notice prior to any planned water interruptions.”
Work began on Monday 21st February and is expected to continue for 3 months. Roadworks begin outside St. Seachnall National School and proceed northbound through Main Street to the end point located at Dunshaughlin Motor Company. These began during the mid-term break and the Contractor will be gradually moving away from the school.
Most of Meath’s water mains are reaching the end of its service lifespan, requiring replacement pipes to properly function.
Dunshaughlin and other towns in Meath have also dealt with issues regarding water quality for several years. Limescale damage and blockages to appliances involving water usage are commonplace in the local area.
These repairs come soon after discharge of unsafe water in Gorey, Co Wexford and at Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare which serves the Greater Dublin area was discovered. The HSE reported 46 cases of gastrointestinal illness in the Gorey area following an incident between August 19th and 24th that exposed about 900,000 people to insufficiently disinfected water supplies after a power and chlorine pump failure. Twenty-eight people contacted Irish Water directly to report illness.
At the Ballymore Eustace treatment plant on August 20th on a separate occasion, the cryptosporidium and disinfection barriers were compromised over a five-hour period. Similar issues were investigated on August 30th at the sludge treatment facility in the plant.
The plants operated by the local authorities completed repairs before Irish Water and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were notified, in a breach of regulations.
Customers can phone Irish Water on 1800 278 278 if they have any questions about the project or check out the Water Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website for regular updates.