Lead pipes replaced in Tralee estate after ‘pressure’ from EPA

Solicitor for council and Irish Water says council had begun work in November

Tralee District Court was told in 2008 a sample of water from a house had 43mg lead per litre of water when the permitted level was 25mg a liter

Tralee District Court was told in 2008 a sample of water from a house had 43mg lead per litre of water when the permitted level was 25mg a liter

 

Action was only been undertaken to replace lead mains pipes in a large Tralee estate where lead in drinking water had been four times the accepted norm in response to “constant pressure” from the Environmental Protection Agency, a court was told yesterday.

The Environmental Protection Agency is prosecuting both Irish Water and Kerry County Council for their failure to complete the replacement of the lead distribution mains at Brendan’s Park in Tralee. A date has now been set for a full hearing.

In 2008 a sample of water from a house had 43mg lead per litre of water when the permitted level was 25mg a liter; in 2014 a sample from a different house in St Brendan’s Park also yielded 43mg lead when permitted levels had dropped to 10mg per litre, solicitor for the EPA Maeve Larkin said at Tralee District Court .

Directions were first issued to Kerry County Council to replace the pipes in 2011, and in 2013 summonses were issued to have the work done by Christmas Day 2013.

The council had not done so and proceedings had been issued last June against Kerry County Council and the new sanitary authority Irish Water.

Both bodies had failed to complete the mains replacement with specified times and the EPA wanted an early hearing, Ms Larkin said.

However solicitor for both Kerry County Council and Irish Water, Noirín­ O’Connor said the council had commenced work in November and an alternative water supply had been put in place for the residents.

“The contractors are operating to schedule and the proposed completion date is May 2015 – a hearing will serve no purpose while works are ongoing.”

She also said some of the facts would be contested.

Judge James O’Connor said there had been a delay and while there was “a pile of action on paper” ( by the council and Irish Water) “nothing has happened on the ground in St Brendan’s Park until November”.

However Judge O’Connor agreed with Ms O’Connor there was little point in an early hearing and he adjourned the matter to June 19th.

The matter will take half to a full day, the judge expected.

Amid objections by Ms Larkin Judge O’Connor granted the EPA liberty to apply with seven days notice if nothing happens.