Tuesday 17 September 2019

Irish Water needs to sort out Wexford's lead pipes

Cllr George Lawlor Mayor of Wexford
Cllr George Lawlor Mayor of Wexford

By David Tucker

Wexford's Mayor says Irish Water should either pay for the replacement of lead pipes in the Bishopwater estate or grant aid residents to resolve a problem that was not of their making.

'I have writted to Irish Water demanding on behalf of the Bishopswater residents that this course be taken for them and other residents in Wexford town who find themselves in the same position,' said Cllr. George Lawlor.

It was revealed in this paper last week that Irish Water had written to hundreds of people living in Bishopswater to warn them that their water supplies are contaminated with dangerous levels of lead cause by their own pipes.

Residents were told to run their rising main taps for between five and 10 minutes before drinking the water or making a cup of tea with it and not to consume water from other taps in their homes.

Irish Water said that while it would replace any supply pipes, it was the responsibility of the residents themselves to replace any that were actually on their properties.

Cllr. Lawlor said this was an attempt by Irish Water to out the onus for resolving the problem at the residents' door.

'The fact of the matter is that these pipes were not put in by the residents, they were put in the local authority when constructing these houses.

'The people at this time did not get an option of getting a house with the water being supplied just to their stopcock. The authority that built them supplied all the piping.'

Cllr. Lawlor had previously criticised Irish Water for sending letters to Bishopswater residents informing them of the lead contamination without offering them a solution.

The county council had asked the utility whether the Newtown water supply in Wexford could be treated with a chemical additive which mitigates the problem of lead pollution, however, Irish Water said this would be premature and it was only now about to commence a pilot project in Limerick.

'Introducing orthophosphate dosing in Wexford in advance of national agreement with the various stakeholders on the policy is premature,' it said in response to questions put by this newspaper.

The letters from Irish Water caused outrage in Bishopswater with residents saying they had no intention of paying to have the pipes changed.

Joe Bradley. who has lived in Bishopswater for 50 years, said he had no intention of changing the pipes, but he also had no intention of paying Irish Water for mains supplies.

'Why should we pay for water that isn't fit for human consumption,' he said.

Assumta Murphy said she had been giving her 10-year-old daughter Rebecca filtered, sugar free drinks, but now she had discovered she had been giving her sugar free drinks with no addititives, 'other than lead'.

Wexford People

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