Limerick City Council plays down fears over new pipes

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

A SENIOR council engineer allayed fears that new piping laid down by the council could freeze or burst if there is a cold snap.

A SENIOR council engineer allayed fears that new piping laid down by the council could freeze or burst if there is a cold snap.

David Keane has said that the new pipes being laid down as part of a renewal programme by City Hall will withstand low temperatures.

Limerick City Council is spending millions to replace lead pipes for homes across the city.

But one resident affected, Mary Moloney, of the Pennywell Road, wrote in an email to council staff: “The contractor says that the insulation will be effective down to minus six degrees centigrade for a maximum period of 12 hours. However, it is less than two years ago since we had temperatures of minus 10 degrees and lower for days in Limerick, and the Pennywell area is a frost pocket.”

But Mr Keane said that this is true - but only to an extent.

“There is still the capacity for a pipe to freeze 50% if temperatures fall below minus six. The pipe will not burst. At minus six degrees, the pipe will still have a 50% capacity to carry water,” he said.

City East councillor Kieran O’Hanlon has said the council must reassure homes affected by the relaying of pipes.

“I know from personal experience, because in Rhebogue we had no water for three weeks. Residents need to be assured on this, because there is only a guarantee of 12 months on this installation. After this [the contractor’s] commitment to the work is finished,” he explained.

Residents can opt out of having their lead pipes replaced, if they are private homeowners.

But Cllr O’Hanlon has advised people to take advantage.

He thinks that in the next few years, it may become compulsory to have lead pipes replaced. If residents wait, they may have to pay for the service privately, he warned.