'No comment' from Irish Water on excessive lead levels in housing estate water supply
Members of a housing estate that tested for excessive levels of lead in their water supply are still waiting direction as regards water restrictions and charges one month later.
Residents of St Brendan’s Park housing estate in Tralee, Co Kerry, gave samples of their drinking water for testing by Irish Water and Kerry County Council over four weeks ago.
Following receipt of the test results, which were found to be ten times the acceptable level, residents have continued to express concern to the relevant authorities as to how safe their water is to drink.
They maintain that no water restrictions have been put in place in the area by Kerry County Council, the HSE or Irish Water following the results, despite repeated calls for answers.
Irish Water told independent.ie that they are unable to comment on the lapse of time between testing the water and communicating guidelines to the residents involved.
The utilities firm also said that they intend to make an announcement to residents of the area tomorrow – and will comment further at that stage.
Although they were aware of the issue in St Brendan’s Park, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were unable to comment on the situation, maintaining that it was the role of the HSE and Irish Water to communicate with the residents.
According to new EU directives as of January 2014, the new maximum allowable concentration for lead in drinking water has been reduced from 25 µg/l (micrograms per litre) to 10 µg/l.
Children and infants who ingest high levels of lead can experience delays in their physical or mental development while health problems for adults drinking water containing excess lead includes kidney problems and high blood pressure.
The HSE have confirmed that their environmental officers have been working closely with Irish Water in HSE in relation to the lead test results which have been taken in St. Brendan’s Park.
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According to Labour Deputy Arthur Spring, the HSE has already advised Kerry County Council to issue water health notices to all residents in St. Brendan’s Park.
Irish Water told independent.ie that they have begun works to replace the old cast iron watermains, common lead services and lead service connections in St Brendan’s Park, which should be complete by May 2015.
“Where lead levels were found to exceed the maximum allowable concentration in St. Brendan’s Park, this was most likely due to a combination of common lead services, lead service connections and internal lead plumbing in individual houses,” according to a spokesperson for the company.