€80m plan to upgrade 'at risk' water supply
Irish Water is planning an €80m upgrade of a 150-year old reservoir serving 200,000 people amid concerns that drinking water is at risk of contamination.
The utility plans to construct a new covered reservoir at Stillorgan in south Dublin to ensure that water drawn by thousands of homes and businesses is safe to drink.
It will be capable of storing 160 million litres, around two days' supply, and will be developed on the existing site.
Works will take up to two years to complete and will involve construction of three water-storage cells in a flat-roofed building measuring 275 metres by 174 metres.
The company will today launch a six-week public consultation on the proposed new covered reservoir prior to submitting a planning application to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
A similar project was given permission in 2002.
Irish Water said the covered reservoir was "essential" to safeguard the quality of the drinking water. The plan comes after €3.4m was invested in a new system to disinfect stored drinking water.
Stillorgan is one of only two uncovered reservoirs in the State. The other, at Ballyboden, will be replaced in 2017.
The Stillorgan project is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and HSE. The EPA said it had called for the reservoir to be covered for some time.
"The open storage of treated water places the supply at risk of direct risk of environmental (eg microbiological pollution from wildlife) or deliberate contamination (eg from unauthorised access, vandalism or terrorism)," it said.
"Previous EPA audits have found evidence of unauthorised access to the reservoir which puts the supply at risk.
"The EPA has been calling for the covering or replacement of the Stillorgan reservoir at the earliest opportunity to address these concerns."