IT could be six months before people in Ballynanty will be able to drink from their taps, the chairman of the residents association says.
Kevin O’Brien says he believes normal service resuming in six months would be “a conservative estimate”.
Around 400 households have been advised not to drink tap water or use it for cooking due to the detection of high levels of lead in the supply.
The HSE has warned the consumption of lead may harm the kidneys, contribute to high blood pressure and is linked to cancer.
Although Irish Water contractors have been negotiating a programme of work for the relaying of pipes, it is anticipated this could take half a year.
“It is only setting in now. Residents are only starting to realise it will take so long,” Mr O’Brien said.
The residents association has identified 80 householders who are vulnerable, and a team of up to six people are delivering water and a snack to these homes daily.
“We are working with the Family. Resource Centre on the distribution of water,” Mr O’Brien confirmed.
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Sheahan has been in contact with Catherine Walsh, the southern manager of Irish Water.
He says he has secured a promise from the executive that she will remain in regular contact with him over the problems in the area.
“At the moment, the contractor is on the ground, and they are going door to door to get the residents to sign up the contract to allow the contractor to enter the properties of the owners,” Mayor Sheahan said, “The next stage is to decide a start-up date, and this is expected very soon”.
The Fine Gael councillor - who has made regular visits to the estate - predicted the works could be completed within three to four months.