Alan Kelly says lifting of boil-water notices ‘not possible’ without Irish Water

Minister for the Environment speaking after HSE lifts notices for 11,300 customers

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Irish Water MD John Tierney. Mr Kelly said: “Over 17,000 people can drink their water in Roscommon this year that couldn’t last year.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Irish Water MD John Tierney. Mr Kelly said: “Over 17,000 people can drink their water in Roscommon this year that couldn’t last year.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The lifting of boil water notices for thousands of people “would simply not be possible” without Irish Water, Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has said.

He was speaking after Irish Water confirmed the HSE had lifted boil water notices for 11,300 customers in the Killeglan and Castlerea areas of Co Roscommon.

This came after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspections of related water treatment plants earlier this week.

A boil water notice for 6,000 customers in Boyle was lifted on May 1st.

“This now means that over 17,000 people can drink their water in Roscommon this year that couldn’t last year,” said Mr Kelly.

“This would simply not be possible without the creation of Irish Water. Irish Water was able to target and prioritise these vulnerable areas and bring to a close the sorry saga of boil water notices in quick fashion.

“I have no doubt that similar successes will be replicated throughout the country.”

John Tierney, Irish Water’s managing director, said dealing with the boil water notices had been a “top priority” since the utility came into existence.

“Irish Water as a national water utility has been able to fast-track and co-ordinate the completion of this and other projects in Co Roscommon so that boil water notices will be lifted for 22,700 customers in Roscommon by the end of this year,” he said.

“We acknowledge the work of the contractors and Roscommon County Council in helping us to achieve this.”

A statement from Irish Water said an “integrated programme” had been implemented that will allow boil water notices to be lifted for 22,700 in Co Roscommon in 2015 through a “prioritised programme of work” and a total investment of €26.8 million. The statement said some customers in these areas had had to boil water for drinking since 2009.

Work on the Killeglan and Castlerea plants was completed in March, but the notice could not be lifted until the required audits had been carried out by the EPA. Following “continuous testing” and completion of EPA audits at both plants this week, the HSE lifted the boil water notice for both supplies on Tuesday.

An additional 5,400 customers in northeast Roscommon are expected to have a temporary filtration and UV treatment system in place by the end of the year.

That will allow the boil water notice to be lifted in advance of full completion of the permanent water supply scheme in that area in early 2017, which will restore a normal drinking water supply to customers in Strokestown, Elphin, Roosky and Termonbarry and nearby areas, for the first time since March 2014.