“IT’S our first All-Ireland!” quipped local councillor and former All-Star hurler, Mike Houlihan, in Kilmallock this week after Limerick County Council became the first Irish recipient of a prestigious award for the delivery of drinking water through the Kilmallock Water Treatment Scheme.
Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, presented the council with an ISO 24512:2007 certification for its management of the Kilmallock Water Treatment Scheme, which serves 2,500 customers in the south Limerick area.
The standard is awarded by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) member body for the Republic of Ireland. “I would like to congratulate Limerick County Council, the county manager, and all your staff, particularly the people here in the Kilmallock area office, for being the country’s first recipient of the NSAI award for drinking water utilities management,” said Minister Hogan. “I would say to the people of Ireland that we are now beginning to wake up to the notion that water is a finite resource. It’s hugely important for our householders, for our health and for our environment and hugely important for jobs in every community in the country. The first thing that companies or ICT plants like Dell ask any government department when they come to any particular place to invest is ‘how are you fixed in terms of water quality or quantity’ – particularly water quality,” he said.
Cllr Jerome Scanlan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, congratulated the council staff, both past and present, whom he said “have committed their time and expertise to ensuring that some 2,500 customers are delivered high quality drinking water.”
Conn Murray, Limerick City and County Manager said both Limerick city and county councils in association with the department have “invested considerably in water services infrastructure down through the years”.
“The provision of water services is set to undergo significant change during the coming years, and both councils look forward to playing a central role in this transition,” he said.
Director of Water Services at Limerick County Council, Josephine Cotter-Coughlan said “it is a great honour and achievement of Limerick County Council to get this standard”. A lot of hard work went in by the staff here in Kilmallock,” she said.
The current water treatment plant at Ballingaddy, Kilmallock was opened in 1987. The water drawn from the River Loobagh undergoes a full treatment process at one location before being pumped to the reservoir. The plant is currently supplying over 1100 cubic metres or approximately 250,000 gallons per day to the town but has the capability of supplying another 1100 cubic metres per day if required. All the processes within the plant are monitored on electronic systems.
Currently, four out of each five houses in County Limerick receive piped water from a council source. Over the past 20 years the number of houses on mains water has increased at 3% per annum. The county council also provides support to the Private Group Water Scheme sector through the provision of grants and subsidies, along with technical advice and water quality supervision. Meanwhile, Well Grants are made available for households on private wells who need to upgrade their water supply.