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Saturday 21 October 2017

Thousands left without water after major pipeline bursts

Workers toil overnight to repair leak

Breda Heffernan and Michael McHale

'All efforts will be made to carry out the work in the optimum time and minimise disruption'

THOUSANDS of homes in Dublin were left without water last night following a burst on a major pipeline.

The north city arterial water-main, which supplies water to the north city centre, parts of the south city and some northern suburban areas, burst at Marrowbone Lane, on the southside, at around 12.30pm yesterday.

At around 6.30pm, workers for the council began to shut down the major supply source as work took place overnight to try and fix the problem.

No construction work was taking place in the area at the time and a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said it was investigating the cause of the serious leak.

The entire water main, which carries up to 550 million litres of water per day, was shut down to allow engineers to complete an assessment of the pipe and carry out emergency repairs.

The local authority said surrounding areas experienced a drop in water pressure, while some were left without supply.

It said it was difficult to identify all the areas affected as many homes and businesses will not become aware they have no supply until their water tanks run dry.

Homes on high ground were most likely to be affected due to the gravity mains system of the supply.

However, by early yesterday afternoon households as far north as Killester had reported a complete loss of their water supply.

"The water main is being shut down and an examination is being carried out to determine the extent of the problem," a council spokesperson said.

"Work is ongoing to feed water to the areas affected by alternative routes. Areas on the north of the city and some areas on the south side will experience reductions in pressure and possible loss of supply.

"All efforts will be made to carry out the work in the optimum time and to minimise disruption as far as is possible."

Gardai advised motorists to avoid the area around Marrowbone Lane, Thomas Court, South Earl Street and School Street, where work was under way last night and diversions were in place.

The council last night warned that, because of a general reduction in water pressure city wide, several areas were faced with extremely low pressure or even no supply at all.

On the northside the areas affected include east of the Malahide road from Fairview Park all the way to the coast, including Fairview, Clontarf, Killester, Raheny and Artane.

Ballymun, Griffith Avenue, Whitehall, Drumcondra and Glasnevin homes have also been affected, while on the southside areas from Baggot Street Bridge to Leeson Street, Inchicore to Islandbridge and James Street and surrounding areas were expected to be hit.

As part of the repairs, workers last night cut out the piece of the pipe where the leak occurred and replaced it with a new piece.

Should the construction be successful, the council is expecting the water levels to return to normal by mid-morning.

"Hospitals and nursing homes shouldn't be affected at this stage because they'll have their own reservoirs," the spokesperson added.

"But if the leak becomes a bigger issue we'll have to look at bringing in water tankers.

"Generally speaking it could have been something like a utility problem, but we won't know for sure until we look into it properly."

It is estimated that almost half of the city council's 2,200km of water pipelines is more than 70 years old and the age of the network is one of the principle causes of leaks.

Irish Independent

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