Two days before the boil water notice in Gorey came to an end, water engineer Barry Hammel provided an update on the Creagh Water treatment plant shut down process to members of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District.
Mr Hammel told members at their monthly meeting that new alarm systems had been set up based off EPA recommendations.
The dissolved air flotation filter outlet high turbidity event will now initiate a backwash after 15 minutes of untreated water following and, if a second backwash occurs within four hours of the last backwash, the plant shall close the inlet and outlet valves, shutting down the dissolved air flotation filter until the operator attends the site.
This means that, in future, a shut down will only last 24 hours.
Councillors heard that works were completed to replace UVT (Ultra Violet Transmission) monitors for raw water intake and treated water, while the team are investigating enabling works for a dissolved air flotation filter to run to waste after backwash using current infrastructure.
Works are planned to replace valves and actuators on the dissolved air flotation filters. There are also plans to wash down the facility, monitor the saturation pressure on the water recirculation, install the chain break sensor and look at the intake from Pallis and Kilmichael, currently supplying raw water to Creagh.
Mr Hammel said that at the moment there is raw water coming in to the chamber but with a new process, it will no longer go through the tank due to a barrier. That barrier will be monitored to make sure it is not compromised, which would be if it went under 0.3 in height or over 0.5, which would trigger an alarm.
He added that spikes would occur on occasion but when this happens, sand would be cleared and the process would start again.
“We won’t do this again unless the last wash out happened within four hours. Since the original event happened, we’ve re-sanded the plant and taken plenty of crypto samples that have come back clear. We’ll be testing all the systems through before the boil water notice is lifted,” he told councillors, as they awaited the lifting of the notice which had been in place since Thursday, October 28.
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux said that he hoped that the council could put this behind them and move on.
“It sounds to me like we’re near the end of this. Never say never, but I think I’m right in saying there’s slim chance of this re-occurring so there is a good chance it won’t be happening again”.
He also said that updates from meetings that were posted on social media were causing further confusion for people.
“It’s only fuelling confusion, anger and worry for people as what some people have put up on line has been contradicting what’s going on,” he said.
Cllr Pip Breen said that what Mr Hammel was saying was factual and would be reported in the local press.
Cllr Mary Farrell said that more public information was needed around the role of Irish Water versus the role of the council.
She said that there were reports in Kilmuckridge of low pressure in water taps and that people were unable to shower due to not having enough water.
Mr Hammell said that he wasn’t aware of this happening but that the point of contact for that would be Irish Water.
“The common theme is that people don’t realise what they need to do when something goes wrong and that’s down to the system. We need to let people know, whether that’s through advertising or in local media as this is not a council problem to begin with.”
Cllr Pip Breen said there was a good bit in the news about recent events.
Cllr Willie Kavanagh said that there had been a recent outage in his area, but the plant involved was a Wexford plant.
“I thought the issue was under our district and discovered it wasn’t Enniscorthy either but Wexford. It’s all mixed up and it’s not satisfactory. The powers that be should be looking to bring it under the district so we’re all in the area,” he said.
Cllr Breen said that the plant in question was also supplying Wexford, while acting Director of Services said that Gorey Kilmuckridge councillors would be brought these reports in future.