Company aims to lift most boil-water restrictions by end of year
THE vast majority of families and businesses forced to boil water because it is unsafe to drink will have their supplies improved before the end of the year.
Irish Water will tell an Oireachtas committee today that restrictions should be lifted in most areas by year-end as plants are upgraded and urgent works fast-tracked.
The company, which took control of the water network on January 1, put in a team of specialists in recent weeks to assess and prioritise works where boil-water notices are currently in place, the Irish Independent understands.
This was because some 18,900 people are currently drawing supplies from contaminated sources, and the water is unsafe to drink.
The company could not oblige people to pay for water from risky supplies, and identified the removal of boil water notices as a priority.
The vast bulk of the 18,900 (98pc) are living in Roscommon, including Castlerea and Boyle and across the south of the county.
"Water quality is a priority and a special team was put in place in January to assess the issue of boil water notices," a source said.
It is understood that Irish Water chief executive John Tierney will tell the Dail Environment committee this afternoon that a new treatment plant for Boyle will be completed by December this year.
Another in Killeglin – which was due for completion in April next year – may be fast-tracked and delivered earlier.
When both plants are delivered, supplies will be improved for 12,200 people.
Options to accelerate the delivery of a third plant for Castlerea, which will serve 6,350, are being "assessed urgently", it is understood.
All other communities across the country affected by boil water notices are also being addressed as "urgent", but the numbers are only a small portion of the total affected.
Boil water notices are only put in place by local authorities after consultation with the HSE which deems the supply to be dangerous to public health.
In 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available, 47 boil water notices affecting 43 supplies were put in place affecting 50,000 consumers.
A total of 10 plants in Roscommon are due to be upgraded from 2014.