independent

Friday 22 March 2019

Borehole to resolve Kiltegan water issue

Deborah Coleman

The Kiltegan Public Water Supply will remain subject to a 'Do Not Consume' notice for a number of weeks until a new borehole is drilled to provide a new water supply which will resolve the issue.

According to Irish Water, a plan to carry out this work is now in place and is expected to be completed early this year.

The Do Not Consume notice was issued to all 269 customers on the Kiltegan Water Supply Scheme on Christmas Eve due to elevate nitrate levels and has remained in place ever since.

The Kiltegan scheme is one of nine in County Wicklow which feature on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL). The RAL details all the public water supplies that are in need of investment and have an approved action plan. The RAL is updated every three months.

With the exception of the west Wicklow scheme, Irish Water has said that it is safe to consume water from all other Wicklow supplies on the list.

The Aughrim/Annacurra public water supply appears on the EPA's RAL due to a risk of THMs in the drinking water. THMs are chemical compounds which can form over time when natural organic matter (such as the tiny remaining particles of twigs and leaves) react with added chlorine. The addition of chlorine is necessary to adequately disinfect water supplies in order to make the water safe to drink.

To address the risk of THMs in the Aughrim Annacurra supply, Irish Water is investigating the potential of introducing a new groundwater source as well as installing new treatment at the Aughrim water treatment plant. These works are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

THMs are also present in the Avoca/Ballinclash public water supply scheme but this issue is to be addressed by the upgrade of the Avoca Water Treatment Plant, which is due for completion later this year,

Six supplies feeding off the Vartry Water Treatment Plant are also on the RAL due to a risk of THMs. These are the Enniskerry public supply; Wicklow Regional public supply; Bray; Greystones (which includes Windgates and Templecarrig); Kilmacanogue; and Newtown Newcastle (which includes Kilcoole).

In order to address this THM risk, Irish Water is making a significant investment in the Vartry Water Supply Scheme. A new 4km pipeline, replacing the Callowhill Tunnel, has been completed while works to upgrade to the water treatment plant are currently under way and due for completion by early 2021.

Andrew Boylan, Regional Compliance Specialist for the Eastern and Midlands Region with Irish Water, said, 'The publication of the latest RAL by the EPA confirms that whilst improvements have been made, the scale of the challenge faced by Irish Water in ensuring the delivery of clean and wholesome water to the people of County Wicklow, and indeed throughout the country, remains. As a single national utility, Irish Water has been able to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of Ireland's drinking water treatment plants and focus investment where the risk to our customers is highest.'

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