Irish Water’s managing director Niall Gleeson has described the company’s efforts to refurbish the old Leixlip water plant as being like “trying to change the tyres on a car while it is still heading down the road.”
Leaks have to be repaired in a phased way, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, but in the case of the Leixlip plan, repairs have to be carried out while the plant is still operating.
Meanwhile Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast that this second boil notice has shattered any confidence people had in Irish Water.
“They're afraid they're going to get sick, they are also not sure they can be confident they are being told in a timely way.
“This is not just about inconvenience, about rushing out to buy water, or boiling water. This is about confidence.”
Also speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Irish Water’s general manager Eamon Gallen apologised for the impact and inconvenience of the boil notice issued on Monday for people in Fingal, most of north Dublin, south Dublin, Kildare and Dunboyne in Meath.
He admitted that he did not know how long this boil notice will last. “We are working with Fingal and we will work in consultation with the HSE and the EPA to get the boil notice lifted as quickly and as safely as possible. We have to agree criteria with them to lift the notice which we expect will be along the same time lines as last time.
“We are also working with the other local authorities to get as much water as possible from other sources.
“We produce 1.7 billion litres of water every day and that water is all fit to consume or we'll tell you it's not. So we will come out quickly and tell you. I know it's cold comfort to people who have to boil water today.”
Mr Gallen explained that Irish Water is trying to accelerate the refurbishment of old Leixlip plant.
“When you take the filters out of operation that impacts on supply, we also have a chlorine upgrade programme under way and as per the EPA report, we are considering UVA treatment, but we have to see if the filters need to be refurbished before any of that could be effective.
“There's no doubt that the water network needs a lot of investment, but we have the strategic funding plan approved by government and we believe that is sufficient for us to do the water that's tasked for us. It is a long term programme of works. It will take decades to get the water network back up to standard.”