The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D., has today issued an update in relation to two serious incidents in drinking water plants which have occurred in recent weeks.
In a letter to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined two serious incidents in recent weeks that occurred in drinking water plants serving parts of Dublin City (served by the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant) and Gorey, Co. Wexford. This included, in the case of Gorey, illnesses detected by the HSE in the community served by that water supply.
It’s important to note that these incidents have been rectified and the water supply from the two plants is now safe to drink.
Commenting following a meeting with the Irish Water Managing Director and officials and both the Chief Executives of Dublin City Council and Wexford County Council, Minister O’Brien said, “In the immediate term Irish Water will now undertake an audit of the water treatment plants across the country. They will prioritise the largest 20 treatment plants, visiting each of them, meeting with the caretakers of each plant to ensure that proper processes are in place in terms of dealing with and escalating any incidents which may arise. Irish Water’s Managing Director and the local authority Chief Executives each assured the Minister of their full cooperation and that their organisations are working together in full cooperation to put in place the urgent and necessary corrective measures.
“Irish Water will also work with each Local Authority over the coming two weeks, conducting re-fresher training on incident reporting for all plants. Where appropriate, Irish Water will now put in place a technician on site, to ensure the continued safety of water treatment plants.
“Ultimately, as we all know, there are limitations to the current working arrangements between Irish Water and Local Authorities and it is impacting on the delivery of services. A process is underway in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to deliver the transformation of this service but I am also requesting that Irish Water and local authorities to take further steps to improve Irish Water control of all water service plants in the immediate term pending the implementation of the agreed longer term operational and staffing arrangements,” concluded Minister O’Brien.
The Meeting also included a representative from the County and City Managers Association on behalf of all local authorities.