Over 620,000 water customers in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) received good news last week with the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove Leixlip Water Treatment Plant from its list of ‘at risk’ supplies.
The Leixlip plant was added to the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) in early 2020 following the imposition of two boil water notices in October and November 2019. In addition, almost 32,000 people supplied by the Navan Mid-Meath Liscarton supply in Co Meath also saw their supply removed from the list. This has led to the lowest ever population on the RAL since Irish Water was established.
Irish Water experts worked with colleagues in Fingal County Council and contractors to deliver upgrades to safeguard the Leixlip water supply for homes and businesses in the GDA. The works started in June 2018 and were carried out as quickly and as safely as possible, whilst maintaining a safe drinking water supply for customers. Fifteen filters have been upgraded at the plant, each of which can process up to 12 million litres of water per day, which is the equivalent of five Olympic sized swimming pools.
An ultra-violet disinfection system was also installed, resulting in a safer more secure water supply for homes and businesses served by the plant and the risk of any future Boil Water Notices has now been greatly reduced.
Eamon Gallen, General Manager, Irish Water, said: “Delivering upgrades of this magnitude at an operational water treatment plant serving over 620,000 people is challenging and the removal of this scheme from the RAL is testament to the collaboration between Irish Water, Fingal County Council and our contractors Glan Agua. We still have more to do, however, and while the scheme has been removed from the RAL, an EPA direction remains in place with a deadline of June 2023 for the completion of pH correction works.
“Following the imposition of two Boil Water Notices on the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant this upgrade project was expedited. The water supply and demand balance in the GDA remains critical as we use almost every drop of water that is produced. Treated drinking water is a valuable resource so we would ask customers to please conserve where possible and only use what you need.
“The publication of the latest RAL by the EPA confirms that significant progress has been made in recent years in the delivery of clean and safe drinking water in Ireland. The removal of two supplies benefitting over 650,000 domestic and business customers across a large geographic area represents significant investment and commitment by Irish Water working in partnership with Local Authorities.
"The addition of six new supplies to the RAL this quarter is a reflection of the higher standards to which water supplies are now being assessed and demonstrates that we are gaining a better understanding of risks through our drinking water safety plan approach, and are communicating these risks to the EPA. In many areas, the scale of the challenge faced by Irish Water in ensuring the delivery of clean and safe water remains and we have ambitious plans to continue investing in water quality in the years ahead.”
For a snapshot of how the upgrade works at Leixlip water treatment plant progressed on site, check out this time lapse video produced by Glan Agua.
The removal of the Leixlip and the Navan Mid-Meath Liscarton supplies will benefit over 650,000 people. Six schemes have been added to the RAL - Nenagh Regional, Burncourt Ballylooby, Clare Island, Kereen, Carlow Regional, West Clare (old) WTP. In total, a population of over 650,000 has been removed and almost 32,000 people added. Irish Water has a prioritised programme of investment for all schemes on the list.
Irish Water continues to work at this time with Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services. Irish Water would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.
Irish Water is committed to keeping customers informed about their water and wastewater supplies across multiple platforms 24/7 and encourages customers to engage on its Twitter channels @IWCare and @IrishWater, on Facebook and LinkedIn and through the customer care helpline which is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278.