Cllr Lawlor rejects response from European Parliament Petitions Committee regarding hard water

By Amy Lewis

Published 23/07/2016 | 00:00

Cllr George Lawlor.
Cllr George Lawlor.

Cllr George Lawlor said he 'utterly rejects' the response he received from the European Parliament Petitions Committee after he called for compensation for households suffering from hard water.

Cllr Lawlor petitioned for compensation for these people, saying that forcing over 8,000 homeowners in the Wexford District to pay to have their water softened is 'contrary to all consumer law'.

'It's a bit ridiculous that people who suffer from hard water supplied by a government agency basically have to send their hard earned extra resources to treat that water to make it suitable for use,' he said. 'It is contrary to all consumer law under the sale of goods and contrary to European legislation. However, the Commission have disagreed with this.'

In their response letter, the Committee said that 'following the recommendations of the WHO Guidelines, the European Union has not regulated a threshold for hardness in drinking water as it is not relevant for health purposes in the DWD (Drinking Water Directive). They concluded that it is the responsibility of the Member States, water authorities and suppliers to take any necessary steps regarding drinking water hardness.

'Otherwise it is left to the consumer to adapt or soften the household drinking water to their personal needs,' it continued.

The letter concluded saying, based on the information provided by Cllr Lawlor, the Commission cannot identify a breach of the Drinking Water Directive. The Committee on Petitions have decided to conclude the consideration of the petition and close the file.

Cllr Lawlor submitted his petition last year in light of the introduction of water charges and following several representations from members of the public. He said he was submitting it on behalf of the people in Ireland who are supplied with hard water.

'With the introduction of water charges imminent in Ireland it is clear that these homeowners will essentially be forced to pay twice for their water, firstly for the water they receive and then for its treatment to make it useable in their homes,' he said last year.

'This area in the county of Wexford close to Wexford Town is served by Mayglass/ Fardystown Regional Water Scheme. This scheme, which began operating in 2002, supplies approximately 8,000 homes in the Wexford urban and rural area. The lime content in this water has been described to me by one official in Wexford County Council as being 'off the scale'. The high lime content is creating major problems for householders with appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, showers and kettles requiring replacement on a much more frequent basis than homes with a 'normal' supply.'

According to Cllr Lawlor, a number of people have approached him about this problem, which he said is a big issue in the Fardystown and Mayglass areas.

'I utterly reject the response. You cannot supply someone with faulty goods and get away with it,' he said last week. 'My next move is to submit a motion to Wexford County Council to call on the government to institute a grant scheme.'

Wexford People

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