Leixlip Water Treatment plant comes in for more criticism

by Padraig Conlon

Irish Water has been blasted for its operation of Leixlip Water Treatment Plant by an advisory body.

Up to 600,000 people, many of them residents of Lucan, Clondalkin and Palmerstown, were left furious in October and November when Irish Water was forced to issue Boil Water Notices after an issue at the treatment plant in Leixlip.

Following this, it was revealed that Irish Water was aware of problems with filters at the plant six years ago.

Now, the Government’s Water Advisory Body (WAB) has criticised Irish Water’s running of the Leixlip plant in a quarterly report for the Minister For Housing, Planning and Local Government.

As per the report, issues at the Leixlip plant “have exposed the vulnerability of Dublin’s water supply, which is also replicated across the country”.

“There has also been a disappointing drop-off in the number of leak repairs completed under the First Fix Scheme from mid-2016,” the report states.

“There is a history of under-investment in water and wastewater treatment in Ireland, and much of the recent focus by Irish Water has been on the provision of high-quality public water.

“The boil water notices arising from two separate incidents at the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant are a concern.

“The WAB continues to be concerned that Irish Water invest in capacity, resilience and operational practices to deliver continuing improvement in water supply quality and security.”

In reply to a request from Dublin Gazette, a spokesperson for Irish Water said: “Irish Water recognises that leakage is widespread and a substantial challenge.

“Our strategy on leakage is multifaceted and will save 166 million litres of drinking water daily by 2021.

“We are making progress. Together with our local authority partners, we have dedicated teams working across the country to fix 1,500 leaks per month.”

Regarding any threat to supply at the Leixlip plant due to COVID-19, the spokesperson said: “Irish Water’s aim is to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and to secure the consistent quality and supply of drinking water and to maintain wastewater services on the public network.

“Irish Water is following HSE, Department of Health and Government guidance for the existing situation, and we are continually monitoring developments.

“Irish Water is asking the public, both householders and businesses to help us in maintaining vital water and wastewater services by conserving water where possible.”

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