Belvelly Residents Slam Irish Water over Poor Communication

by Seamus Whelehan

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Nearly 300 Cobh residents affected by one of the Country’s longest “Do Not Consume Water’ notices, have slammed Irish Water over poor communication.
A project to install a new water main, piping clean water to 76 homes on Great Island, has resulted in severe damage to a number of properties.
The disruption was the result of upgrade works to the Tibbotstown main running from Slatty Bridge to Ballard, while Irish Water prepare to install the new ductile piping.
Phase two of the scheme will see a new ductile pipe run for 3 km from Belvelly to Ticknock Hill.
The work is being carried out by Coffey Northumbrian Ltd, in partnership with Cork County Council on behalf of Irish Water, and is expected to be completed by the end of September 2019.
Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen, who has worked alongside Fine Gael Cllr Sinead Sheppard, Deputy David Stanton and Sean Sherlock to progress the works, said he is “very disappointed that Irish water and the contractor for the works failed to meet the statutory notification period of 48 hours”.
He said “since the get go, communication with Irish Water has been very poor. This is supposed to be a good news story for an area that is about to get clean water for the first time in many years, and they fail to get that right.”
Ali Cullinane from the Belvelly Positive Action Group says residents were given one hours’ notice prior to upgrade works commencing.
She said the short notice has allegedly resulted in severe damage to a number of properties.
“The problem is that not everybody got the notices. We have people who had shower heads blown when the pressure was put back on, a lady had water running through the ceiling because the pressure is so crazy and there is another lady who has a leak in her house where the water comes in.”
“You put your tap on and it’s literally screaming because the pressure is so high.”
Ms Cullinane said the residents were prepared for some works, but not to the extent that they are ongoing at the moment. They say they were not sufficiently prepared, given just an hours’ notice that water would be disconnected.
To date 2.2 km of new water main from Belvelly Bridge towards Ballard Hill along the L2989 road, has been successfully laid as part of these works.
The water restriction was imposed by Irish Water last August due to the extremely high levels of Iron in the supply for almost 80 homes in Belvelly.
The restriction was briefly lifted last November but quickly re-imposed by the HSE, after some properties reported intermittent problems with elevated iron levels.
The restrictions mean that the households impacted cannot use the water for drinking, or in the preparation of hot or cold drinks and food, brushing teeth or making ice.
Interim measures put in place do not seem to be working.
Chlorine levels have been boosted to replace the chlorine taken out by the Iron in the supply and PH correction at the Treatment Plant, to help reduce the corrosion of the line.
Up to now since the short term measures were deployed “in some areas the water has improved and in other areas it has gotten worse.” “the problem is that the water tasted of chlorine” said Ms Cullinane.

Irish Water said when the Tibbotstown cast iron main is decommissioned and the distribution pipework replaced in the affected area, water will be supplied from the Glashaboy waterworks.

This will help to eliminate the water quality risk associated with the cast iron pipework.

The Water Utility apologised to the community and businesses in the areas affected, and appreciate the significant inconvenience associated with their existing water supply. They said they are endeavouring to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and wish to thank those affected for their patience and co-operation.

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