Roscommon TD suggests solution to water problems in Williamstown

Roscommon TD Denis Naughten has called on Irish Water to relocate a temporary mobile water treatment plant which is currently located in Roscommon town to Williamstown to address the ongoing problem with water quality in the area.

Residents and business owners in Williamstown were informed last October that a boil water notice was being implemented due to the detection of cryptosporidium in the local supply. Advice was given to locals to boil their water before using it for drinking, food preparation and brushing their teeth. Irish Water infuriated the community last month when it announced that the boil notice would be in place for a further two years.

The utility company claims it has prioritised the installation of a new pipeline to decommission the Williamstown water treatment plant and connect Williamstown to the Lough Mask water treatment plant. However it was revealed that work would not be completed until the end of 2016.

Independent Deputy Denis Naughten says Roscommon town experienced the same problem with cryptosporidium two years ago and the issue was addressed within 14 weeks, via the installation of a temporary water treatment plant pending an upgrade of the existing water system. This upgrade of the Roscommon town supply is now nearing completion and the temporary treatment plant will then become available to be used elsewhere. “Initially this mobile unit was to be relocated to the North East Roscommon regional scheme but for technical reasons I understand that it is not suitable. Therefore, rather than having this treatment plant gathering dust in some warehouse it should be relocated to Williamstown where it would allow for the boil water notice to be lifted.’’

The former Fine Gael representative who left the party following the closure of the A&E unit at Roscommon hospital is critical of the approach being taken by Irish Water. “While towns like Williamstown have been unfortunate to have contamination from cryptosporidium, there are solutions that can work in many instances, but bizarrely Irish Water is not prepared to implement such solutions. There seems to be a policy that if there is a medium term solution, in the intervening years communities can just put up with undrinkable water. Presently, Irish Water does not consider a boil water notice as a priority for a temporary treatment solution where it is estimated that the notice will be in place for anything under a 12 month period. In practical terms this can leave communities with contaminated water for periods of 18 months to two years. This is just not good enough.’’

Deputy Naughten is urging the water company to avail of the temporary solution which is at its disposal, for the good of the people of Williamstown. “Families have a right to clean, safe, water and this must now be put to the top of the agenda by Irish Water.’’

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