Monday 14 October 2019

'Why should we be asked to pay for this lead pipe nightmare?'

Affected residents Graham Murphy, above, Joe Bradley, below, and Patricia and Philip Dempsey, right.
Affected residents Graham Murphy, above, Joe Bradley, below, and Patricia and Philip Dempsey, right.

By David Tucker

BISHOPSWATER residents are angry, upset and afraid at the revelation that their water supplies are contaminated with lead caused by pipes that have been in the ground since their houses were built.

All of those interviewed by this newspaper, said they would refuse to pay the huge cost of digging up their gardens and in some cases their floors, to allow new pipes to be fitted to connect their houses the mains.

And all said they expected either Irish Water or 'Wexford Corporation' to foot the bill.

'I think it's wrong,' said Philip Doyle.

'I've been living here for eight or nine years and I was very surprised when I got the letter,' he said.

Mr. Doyle said he was angry that Irish Water was suggesting that local residents should pay and said it was something the local authority should be paying for because all the old houses have lead pipes, many of them built by the then borough council.

'This is not something new.. it's strange that with the water charges on the way, we are faced with this'.

'They want to charge us for changing the pipes, said John O'Connor, adding that he didn't care who changed the pipes as long as it was either Irish Water of the local authority, but he wouldn't be.

He said his mains supply was under a press in the house which meant a hole would have to be cut in his floor to get to it.

'Why should we be asked to pay for this lead pipe nightmare,' was the reaction of one resident, who asked not to be named.

'It's unbelievable,' said Michael Dempsey.

'I want to know what the local authority is going to do about it. This is a corporation house, they will have to do it,' he said.

'We have been told to run the tap for five or six minutes before making a cup of tea, it's just as well we're not paying for the water, it would cost a fortune.'

Assumpta Murphy, who lives in Bishopswater with husband Graham and 10-year-old daughter Rebecca, said she was concerned about her child's health.

'Each morning I have been giving her filtered, sugar free drinks, but now I find out that I have been giving her sugar free drinks with no additives, other than lead,' she said.

One of the HSE guidelines about not consuming water contaminated with lead says: 'This is specially important for infants, younger children and pregnant women'.

Assumpta, who has lived in the house for 22 years, said she had had an extension built, some years ago, a man from the corporation had done a lot of the new pipework and never mentioned that the old pipes were dangerous.

She said she didn't have a water meter fitted and even if she had, she wouldn't be paying any water charges.

Assumpta, who filters all her drinking water, wasn't sure whether the filter in her fridge would remove lead and was planning to go to the shop she bought it from to find out.

Joe Bradley, who has lived in Bishopswater for 55 years, questioned why it had taken so long to find out about the problem, although 'we've never had any problems with it'.

'Why are we only finding out about this now?' he said.

Joe said he had no plans to change the pipework in his house 'which would cost thousands'.

He said he and his wife Breda were now only drinking bottled water and would not be happy about any attempt to charge them for mains water supplies.

'Why should we pay for water that isn't fit for consumption?'

Wexford People