Water crisis: Special equipment arrives to fix ruptured main

Residents in northeast enter seventh day without water with repair work to continue

Irish Water has confirmed that thousands of households and businesses in Louth and Meath will be without water until Thursday as it struggles to mend a mains pipe that burst last Friday.

 

Special equipment has arrived at the Staleen water treatment plant to repair the burst water main that has left around 70,000 homes and businesses without water in the northeast, according to Irish Water.

It may take until the weekend, however, to restore normal water supplies in the area, Irish Water said, as tens of thousands of customers enter their seventh day without water.

Work started on Wednesday morning on the burst water main using the specially fabricated connector.

The commissioned parts are hoped to fix the ruptured water main. Irish Water said work will continue throughout Wednesday to repair the pipe, but it could be the weekend before a full water supply is returned to customers.

Due to the “fragile condition” of the pipeline, repair work by Irish Water and Louth County Council is moving more slowly than expected. It is expected it will be known if the repair work has been successful later this afternoon.

Map: Where can I get water?

Managing director of Irish Water, Jerry Grant, said the company is committed to prioritising the replacement of the 2.2km water main serving the Staleen water treatment plant.

“It’s clear from the significant level of disruption and hardship endured by so many customers as a result of the burst on this high pressure main that its replacement must be a priority for Irish Water,” he said.

Mr Grant noted that a detailed programme for complete replacement will take a number of weeks to finalise but a budget of €3 million would be needed to complete the project.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy visited some of the affected areas on Tuesday evening.

He was confronted by frustrated locals in Drogheda who criticised the lack of information coming from Irish Water about the expected duration of the water outage.

The shortages in the northeast will not change the Government’s approach to funding Irish Water or the decision to abolish water charges, according to Mr Murphy.

Water is being transported from across the country to help alleviate the crisis.

An alternative mains water supply has been provided to customers in south Ashbourne by laying a 100 metre pipe to connect to a water supply in Fingal. The water network from Fingal has also been diverted to provide mains supply to Kilbride in Co Meath.

Customers are advised to bring their own containers to collect water and that water must be boiled before consumption as a precaution.