AT LEAST six homes in Balbriggan have been informed that their water is not safe to drink because of lead content but the council cannot say if these are the only homes in the town that are affected by the problem.
The council is in the process of mapping homes across the county at risk from lead pipes feeding into their homes and are testing a small sample of those suspected properties to construct the map As part of that process 33 homes have been tested in Balbriggan and six of those have been issued with warning notices informing them of lead content in their water.
The problem is not in the public mains but in pipes leading from the mains into the home and that length of pipe is the householder's responsibility in most cases, according to the council. The news was revealed at the September meeting of Balbriggan Town Council where Cllr Dermot Murray (FF) complained that in one case a single householder from a row of houses in Balbriggan got a warning notice but her neighbours did not.
He asked that all suspect properties be tested. Fingal County Council's water services department explained how it was addressing the situation, saying: ' The water services department, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Service Executive (HSE), is carrying out a countywide Lead Identification Project.
' The project involves representative sampling of pre-determined areas to facilitate the development of a high/low risk map for the Fingal area to identify where lead service pipes are likely to exist. ' Throughout the sampling phase of the project, consumers are advised of appropriate actions to take in respect of their drinking water if a lead exceedence is identified and the water services department schedules the replacement of any portion of the lead service under public ownership prior to resampling.'
The department explained what it had done in Balbriggan so far, saying: ' In Balbriggan, 33 properties have been sampled for lead and 6 ' Do Not Consume Notices' remain in place following the replacement of the lead service pipe on the public side of these properties. 'Each of the six householders has been sent a letter in this regard. ' The agreed methodology for the project places emphasis on committing all available resources on a county-wide basis to provide geographical equality of service to consumers.
The project would be unduly delayed by focusing on small sections of the network to the detriment of consumers elsewhere. 'When the Project representative sampling is complete the Water Services Department will develop proposals to extend the sampling and replacement works into all areas deemed to be at risk in a progressive and risk-based manner.'