Irish Water fears more quality problems with supply
Irish Water says it expects to uncover more problems with water quality in other parts of the country following 'decades of underinvestment' in the national water network.
The stark warning comes after residents in 800 homes in Limerick were advised not to drink their water over lead contamination fears.
Irish Water is examining options to accelerate plans to upgrade water piping in Kileely and Ballynanty, on the north side of Limerick city, after the semi-state came under fire for saying it could take up to 18 months to complete work to eliminate the elevated lead levels.
Nationally there are more than 20,000 homes where water is not drinkable, and Irish Water has now said it expects more water quality problems to be uncovered.
"Given the state of the network and the lack of investment over the past few decades, problems will continue to arise in the short to medium term or until such time as adequate investment can be delivered," a spokesperson told the Irish Independent.
The problem in Limerick relates to shared backyard services - a feature of homes built before the 1960s. In a statement, Irish Water said a contractor is starting the necessary works in Ballynanty to deal with the historical issue of backyard services.
"A similar issue arose last Friday in Kileely. Although works were already planned for this area to begin in January, Irish Water is examining options to accelerate delivery of a solution in a similar time line to Ballynanty," the statement added.
The remedial works are expected to cost up to €6m and will take 12 month to complete.
The HSE has emphasised that, in particular, pregnant women and young children in affected households should not drink water suspected of elevated lead concentrations.
Limerick Councillor Maurice Quinlivan said it was "totally unacceptable" that residents could be without drinking water for over a year.