EPA suing Irish Water and council over water standard in Letterkenny

Agency alleges Donegal County Council failed to comply with direction

A court summons has been issued to Irish Water and Donegal County Council to appear at Letterkenny District Court on Tuesday.

A court summons has been issued to Irish Water and Donegal County Council to appear at Letterkenny District Court on Tuesday.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is suing Irish Water and Donegal County Council, claiming the public water supply to Letterkenny is not up to standard.

The agency introduced a directive in August 2011 informing the council to take measures to improve its supply to the town and its 19,000 residents.

An examination of the Letterkenny public water supply showed concerns over the treatment of water. Among the concerns were the treatment for Cryptosporidium and excessive levels of trihalomethanes.

The complaint from the EPA alleges that Donegal County Council “failed to comply” with a direction issued by the EPA under a European drinking water regulation.

This means it failed to implement a water improvement programme for the Letterkenny supply to meet the regulations for trihalomethanes within a certain time.

A court summons has been issued to the council and Irish Water to appear at Letterkenny District Court on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, residents of a housing estate in Tralee, Co Kerry, which has more than four times the permitted level of lead in its water supply have asked Irish Water not to impose charges until the old lead pipes are replaced.

The EPA has already issued legal proceedings against Irish Water to replace the water mains at St Brendan’s Park. Kerry County Council plans to have new piping in place by mid- to late-2015.

Residents association chairman Richard O’Halloran yesterday said they wanted the water declared unfit for human consumption, but had no replies to their requests from the HSE or Irish Water.

Human consumption

Irish Water spokeswoman Elizabeth Arnett said lead pipes were not necessarily dangerous and it was for the HSE to declare water unsafe. Only when the water was deemed unfit for human consumption would there be no charge.

Meanwhile, umbrella group Right2Water yesterday said anti-water charge protests were bigger than the media appreciated or reported.

Announcing plans for a national demonstration on October 11th in Dublin, politicians and trade unionists affiliated to the group said the media was not picking up on the level of anger against the water charges.