Saturday 16 December 2017

'Murky' water system needs huge investment

Lloyd Keane from Ballinorig West Tralee shows off the water from his water tap in his home
Lloyd Keane from Ballinorig West Tralee shows off the water from his water tap in his home
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

IT IS the town that has been left completely without water for five days this year and when it does return it's murky and undrinkable, residents claim.

But Killorglin's water shortage problems are not going to be sorted in the short-term and will involve a major investment by Irish Water to update the system.

Residents and business people in the Co Kerry town face further inconvenience as the council cannot say when the problem will be fixed.

A water conservation team has been deployed to the area full time but the ownership of the infrastructure and responsibility for running it fell to Irish Water in January.

A spokesman for Kerry County Council said: "The pipes are well past their life span and there is an urgent need to replace the mains that feed the Killorglin area.

"There have been four breaks in the water mains in the past 10 days. It's a massive issue. There is a problem there but we have not been able to resolve it."

What the council has been able to do is offer temporary relief to residents and businesses by introducing pressure-reducing measures.

The local authority had made representations to the Department of the Environment to upgrade the system as a priority but this hasn't been done.

The pipes were laid in 1975 and water is being wasted through burst pipes.

Business owners like Declan Falvey, who runs his pub on Bridge Street, have been stocking up and filling bottles with water because they're not sure when the next outage will occur.

"I was in a place on Monday and they couldn't even flush the toilets but there have been five or six outages in the past three or four weeks," Mr Falvey said.

"If we are going to be paying charges to Irish Water there would want to be a better service."

Hairdresser Theresa O'Sullivan, who owns The Hair Studio on the Iveragh Road, said they receive no warning.

"The first you know is when you turn on the tap and it's gone," she said.

"We are able to store some water in a tank but this wouldn't be enough to keep you going on a busy day."

The situation is affecting an area within a 20-mile radius of the town, where both Danny Healy-Rae and his son Johnny are councillors.

"People can't be expected to pay for water if there is no service and the whole thing is just a shambles," Mr Healy-Rae said.

Meanwhile, in Tralee residents have complained their tap water in undrinkable since Irish Water began installing metres in the area.

Lloyd Keane, from Ballinorrig, Tralee, said he has had to buy bottled water for the past two weeks because of the condition of the water that's coming from his kitchen sink.

"What's coming from my tap is like something you'd expect to see from a toilet. It's disgusting."

Irish Independent

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