Friday 20 April 2018

Water payouts 'a council matter'

Sedimentation tanks at the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant in Co Kildare, which had disruptions in supply following problems
Sedimentation tanks at the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant in Co Kildare, which had disruptions in supply following problems

Compensation for businesses hit by the water crisis in Greater Dublin is a matter for the council, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has said.

As the problem shows no sign of abating and restrictions imposed for a second night, some homes and supplies were left dirty because they had been turned off.

Despite assurances that quality was not an issue, the City Council has warned people who are getting brown, orange or yellow discolouration in supplies not to cook with it or drink it.

Cloudy or white water from taps is safe and has only been discoloured by air bubbles, the council insisted.

Mr Hogan said the current night time restrictions are sufficient for the time being and tankers would not be on the streets of housing estates.

"Let's try and solve the problem first," he said.

"If businesses are losing money, that is a matter between the businesses and the Dublin City Council."

At least 1.2 million people across Greater Dublin, parts of Kildare and Wicklow are at risk of seeing no water in their taps overnight and for several hours each morning until Monday at the earliest.

Businesses claim they are losing 600,000 euro a day because of the shortages.

But Mr Hogan insisted everything possible is being done, although he h it out at the communications strategy from the council which announced the restrictions on Tuesday night.

Water supplies in and around Dublin were affected because of problems at one of the state's biggest treatment plants, Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare.

The council's advice for householders experiencing discoloured water is to run taps clear for two to three minutes.

"If the problem persists contact us for further advice. Typically the problem resolves within an hour or two of the water supply returning," the council said.

It also warned that it could take two to three hours from when valves on the pipes were opened in the morning at 7am for full supplies to filter to every home and business in Greater Dublin.

"This is down to the location of the property relative to the valve. Residents living closest to the valve will get water first," the council said.

Meetings were ongoing throughout the day involving Dublin City Council engineers and lab experts in their bid to resolve the crisis at Ballymore Eustace.

The experts held talks on possible short term responses to the crisis but the council has already warned that restrictions will kick in at 8pm on Thursday regardless of any progress on the issue.

Michael Phillips, Dublin City Council engineer, is talking to various chemists and water treatment experts from overseas who have experience of similar treatment crises.

"What we need to do is find the people who have dealt with this exact, or more or less similar, situation before," a spokesman said.

Council lab technicians and engineers are at the Ballymore Eustace plant again running through computer and physical treatment systems in a bid to identify the problem.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and business in Dublin city and county and parts of Kildare and Wicklow are 30 million litres below what is needed to keep taps and toilets flowing after the 10-day-old problem.

Production at Ballymore Eustace has been cut by about a fifth.

The supplies are a different colour and turbidity or cloudiness than the system is used to handling.

It is suspected the fine, dry summer followed by periods of heavy rain over the last few weeks has created an unusual balance in the raw water.

Pollution is not an issue and the quality of water making it to taps is not a concern.

Experts have said the issue centres on sediment or treated material that needs to be removed from drinking water floating, or being suspended in treatment tanks, rather than sinking.

Press Association

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