TWENTY households in an estate in County Limerick are continuing to rely on a water tanker and a supply of bottled water because of hydrocarbons in the piped supply to their homes.
But, almost four months after sampling of the water began, no explanation has yet been found for the higher than expected presence of hydrocarbons detected in the water supply to O’Connor Park in Ardagh.
Since September, the residents of the estate have been advised not to drink the water or to use it for cooking, ice-making or brushing teeth. However, Irish Water told residents, unless any petrol-type odour is noticed, this water can be used for toilet flushing, bathing, showering, laundry and dishwashing.
This advice is on a precautionary basis, Irish Water has stressed repeatedly.
“While the level of hydrocarbons detected is above expected background levels, it does not breach the Drinking Water Regulations,” a spokesman for the company said.
“This would appear to be a localised issue,” the spokesman told the Limerick Leader this week, explaining that the water from the local water treatment plant is free from hydrocarbons.
“In an attempt to identify the cause, sampling has been taking place at a number of locations in the area.However, we have not yet been able to ascertain a definitive source of the problem. We are continuing to investigate and it is also planned to carry out flushing of the pipe network after which the water will be retested,” he said.
Changing the water supply is unlikely to address the problem, he added.
“This appears to be a localised issue related to the pipe network supplying the estate,” he continued. “However, some hydrocarbons, at low levels, have previously been detected in the network in Ardagh village. It is thought that this may have been coming from O’Connor Park, so a non-return valve has been fitted on the pipe into the park and regular monitoring is carried out on the Ardagh supply.”
Irish Water has been working closely with Limerick City and County Council in a bid to identify and resolve the source of the problem, the spokesman said.
“We have also been liaising with the HSE and the EPA in this regard.”
Bottled water was delivered to the 20 households some weeks ago and more is expected to be delivered before Christmas. A tanker with water remains on the estate and is topped up regularly.
The spokesman apologised for any inconvenience caused to residents and thanked them for their patience.