independent

Monday 26 August 2019

Council discuss water contaminated with lead

By Esther Hayden

A 'wait and see' approach is being adopted by Wexford Borough District in respect of Wexford householders affected by the presence of lead in their water.

At last Monday's meeting Cllr Fergie Kehoe had laid down a notice of motion calling on the council to 'ask the Department of the Environment, the Commission for Energy Regulation and Irish Water for investigate the possibility of a free water allowance of a compensation package to residents affected by the high volume of lead in the water system until the problem is solved with the introduction of Orthophosphate in the water supply.'

He said it was time for the council as a whole 'to come together as a unit to solve the problem' which he said was affecting a large number of households in Wexford. He said that when the members of the council had met with Irish Water they had 'effectively been told that billing for water would continue as normal for affected residents.

'This is hugely unfair to householders who are being asked to pay for water that contains lead. We are told that it will be between three and five years before the Orthophosphate will come into force. That's not sufficient.

'If we were looking at this under the consumer act the householders would be entitled to compensation and a similar act should apply here. It's not just affecting one area of the town.'

Cllr Anthony Kelly said that while he was behind the motion in principal it was, in fact, what the councillors had already previously agreed to do. 'We all wholeheartedly said we were standing behind the residents.'

He said that the number of householders in thee town that were affected by the presence of lead in the water was as high as 70 per cent.

Cllr Wadding said 'we all agreed that we would support them not paying their bills while this situation was ongoing.'

She also said that she didn't think a free water allowance cut the mustard pointing out that people with babies under the age of three and pregnant mothers weren't permitted to drink water containing lead.

Cllr Tony Dempsey said he wanted to ensure that the residents of Bishopwater weren't lost in the process of the motion and said Irish Water had said they would look into the issue of Orthophosphate compared to the cost of replacing the lead pipes and suggested thee motion be deferred.

Wexford People

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