Irish Water to pay for damage caused by burst pipe in Navan

Up to 10,000 people affected by water outage after mains breaks in Co Meath town

The majority of residents in Navan, Co. Meath are without water due to a burst water main. Irish Water crews are at the site of the pipe burst and tankers are on standby to replenish water storage tanks in Our Lady's Hospital. Video: Barry Cronin

 

Homes and businesses without water in Navan, Co Meath, because of a burst main pipe had the service restored late on Tuesday and supply was returning to normal.

Up to 10,000 people were affected by the outage after the trunk main that feeds the town burst early on Tuesday. By late Tuesday, however, the burst had been repaired successfully and supply was being restored to affected areas in the north, west and south of Navan town and some surrounding areas.

Irish Water are acutely aware of the distress caused and we regret any property damage caused by the burst and repair,” said a spokeswoman for Irish Water as the utility sought to restore supply.

Vulnerable customers who registered with Irish Water were supplied with water from emergency container tanks. This included those who have medical conditions, a disability, or are elderly.

Mobile tankers were also called in to replenish water storage tanks in Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.

The disruption to supply in Navan followed a similar problem that left Drogheda and other parts of northeast Co Louth without water for several days.

The R162 Navan/Kingscourt Road at the bottom of Proudstown Hill was closed while crews worked on the pipe.

Flooding

Maintenance crews also installed “extra drainage and road gullies adjacent to the main to help eliminate further flooding of properties in the area,” Irish Water said in a statement.

Irish Water apologised for the inconvenience caused by this incident and thanked customers for their patience and co-operation.

Locals hit by the disruption in supply tried to cope as best they could.

Linda Tolan had to turn away customers from her Hairwaves hairdressing salon in Beechmount Shopping Centre. “I can only do dry cuts and I have turned away four customers who wanted their colour done,” she said.

“I am boiling it in the kettle so that means I will have an extra ESB bill as well as no water today. I have been boiling it non-stop today. It is taking a full 5-litre drum to rinse one head.”

In Daoine Óga Childcare Centre, also in the Beechmount area west of Navan town centre, its chief executive, Marie Daly, said they were facing a crisis because of an inability to flush the toilet.

“There are approximately 250 families affected by this between both places. We have been buying bottled water so the children can have a drink of water,” she said.

Elderly couple Joan and Jimmy Murtagh’s cottage on the Proudstown Road outside Navan found itself 10ft from the large hole created as Irish Water tried to repair the supply pipe.

Damage

“We have lived here over 50 years,” said Ms Murtagh (73) as she faced the prospect of having to move if supply was not restored.

In December 2015, she and her husband (80) had to move in with their daughter Charlotte who lives beside them because of flooding in their home. It was 10 months before they could return.

Ms Murtagh said: “I sometimes think it is nearly worse this time because I kinda know now what I have to go through again but hopefully the damage may not be as bad this time.”

Conor Foley, Irish Water’s regional operations lead, said the utility would not be found wanting when it came to reimbursing families impacted by flood damage from burst mains.

The 2015 repair had been a “patch up job”, he told RTÉ’s News At One but a “robust engineering repair”.

He said that Irish Water has 63,000km of water pipes, 10 per cent of which is categorised as a high risk. “It is a big challenge. €13.5 billion is needed to invest in the infrastructure.”