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Ancient pipes cause pollution to water supply in Loughrea

Sections of the Loughrea public water supply pipework that are nearly 100 years old have been blamed for ongoing pollution issues with the supply.

However, local public representatives have this week called on Uisce Éireann to expedite the pipe replacement work due to the ongoing difficulties being experienced by local residents for the best part of a year.

Local councillor, Shane Curley, told the Connacht Tribune, that replacing the old pipework had just dragged on too long and was a serious inconvenience for the individuals and families affected.

“The Boil Water Notices are in place for the best part of a year and for many people –especially the elderly and those with young children – it just has dragged on for too long,” said Cllr Curley.

Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher said that clearer and quicker information needed to be issued to those affected – and especially the elderly.

“I know of some people who don’t know whether they can drink the water or not, especially if they’re not familiar with computers or modern phones.

“And we are all hoping that this pipe replacement work can be speeded up – having boil water notices in place for a town the size of Loughrea for around a year, is just not good enough,” said Cllr Maher.

Uisce Éireann confirmed on Friday that while a ‘Boil Water Notice’ (BWN) had been lifted for certain parts of the town, it remained in place for other areas.

According to Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water), some of the pipework – constructed from cast iron – ‘can be up to 100-years-old’ and can have sediments dislodged.

This week, Uisce Éireann confirmed that approximately 104 properties in Loughrea are still impacted by the Boil Water Notices which they said have been in place since March, 2023.

“Old cast iron mains typically suffer from sediment being dislodged during repair or maintenance works, causing temporary discolouration of the water or the water appearing brown before it reaches customers’ taps. Usually running the tap for several minutes will restore the clear colour.

“Public health is Uisce Éireann’s number one priority, and we are working to restore drinking water quality for all impacted customers and to lift the Boil Water Notice as quickly as it is safe to do so, and in consultation with the HSE,” said Justin Doran of Uisce Éireann.

The BWN remains in place for the following parts of the town: Dolphin Street, Mount Carmel Crescent, Athenry Road, Liam Mellows Terrace, Brendan’s Day Care Centre as well the L-8273 between the Gort Road and the Old Galway Road.

However, last week Uisce Éireann confirmed that the boil water notice had been lifted for other areas including, Castle Street, Kelly Street, King Street, Church Street, Piggott Street, Moore Street and Cross Street (inclusive of Mt Pleasant) – a total of 170 customers.

Uisce Éireann said that customers can check if their property is included by visiting the Water Quality section of  and entering the property’s Eircode or by calling the Uisce Éireann’ customer care helpline, open 24/7, on 1800-278-278.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Uisce Éireann, will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

The water body advises that where the BWN applies, water must be boiled before drinking; for drinks made with water; in food preparations; ice-making and the brushing of teeth or gargling.

Uisce Éireann also point out that where BWNs apply, the water must be vigorously boiled (a rolling boil for one minute) and then allowed to cool either at room temperature or in the fridge.

They also caution that water coming from the hot tap and allowed to cool is not fit for consumption and that domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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