Investigation under way into group water scheme slurry contamination

The contamination of some of the houses on the Nephin Valley Group Water Scheme (NVGWS ) was brought up at Monday's meeting of Mayo County Council. The contamination first arose on Friday February 26. One resident who contacted the Mayo Advertiser said: "Basically on Friday, February 26, my mother noticed some dirty coloured water coming from the kitchen sink tap." She went on to say they contacted those charged with the management of the scheme and the next day "some operatives from NVGWS came to the house and witnessed the very dirty water with a smell of cattle slurry off it coming through our drinking water taps. At this stage the water had contaminated the dishwasher, internal heating system, and washing machines."

Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne raised the issue at Monday's meeting of the council, saying: "There is a lot of frustration in relation to the Nephin Valley Group Water Scheme, where I understand that slurry got into the group water scheme and is coming out through the taps. This is a very serious matter where at least seven houses, as I understand, have slurry coming out through the taps from the pipes and it's not good enough. I understand it's being dealt with by the group water scheme section of the council, I want to know what's happening. The people went to the EPA and they were told nothing to do with us. If this isn't their area what is?"

In response to his questions, director of services for Mayo County Council, Paddy Mahon, told Cllr Kilcoyne: "In relation to Nephin Valley, just over a week ago there was an issue in relation to it where there were six or seven houses that became affected by what we think was slurry spreading for some reason or another got into the piping, so we placed a boil water notice. Technically the EPA are right, they are not responsible for water quality on group schemes, Mayo County Council is the supervisory body and we're obliged then to follow the regulations. It is being supervised by our group water schemes' section with the support of the environment section of the council, it is being actively pursued and it has been for the last week. It's not something that is going to be necessarily resolved immediately, the main thing is the proper precautions are in place so public safety is paramount."

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