More information should be given about water quality in Naas, council meeting told

Local councillor wants reports

Paul O'Meara

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Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

More info should be given about water quality in Naas

Kildare County Council has been asked for reports about the quality of the public water provided to people living in the Naas area

More information should be provided about the quality of the public water supply in Naas.

The results of the analysis of water samples taken by Irish Water are not provided and Naas councillor Seamie Moore is seeking to have reports on the water quality provided every three months at least.

He told a Naas Municipal District meeting that this information used to be provided to the public.

He said these reports ceased to be provided around the time Irish Water came into being.

“There is a longstanding memory in Naas of bad water, we have a bad history of bad water,” he said, adding that the reports are about “providing reassurance” and the information is supplied by the Health Service Executive.

However, Kildare County Council says this is a matter for Irish Water and added it has been instructed not to publish water sampling result on its web page since 2014. It also said that requests for information should be sent directly to Irish Water via phone or email.

Cllr. Moore was referring to a major contamination issue with the public water in in Naas in October 1991, which arose from the presence of bacteria in a well close to the Blessington Road. The matter was raised in the Dail where then fine Gael TD Alan Dukes said it led to an “epidemic of gastric disorders in Naas.” He called for a public inquiry.

He said some 17 people were initially hospitalised and some schools in the town closed (Naas CBS was particularly badly hit).

Before the well was closed off, householders were advised to boil all water for a period of 48 hours and catering establishments were being advised not to use tap water in the preparation of food or for the washing of hands by staff.

A group of concerned residents conducted a survey and found that of 3242 people surveyed some 2702 — or 88% were affected and 485 of these had serious symptoms. Some 26 people hospitalised, at least initially.

After the incident, all of the Naas public supply came from the treatment plant in Ballymore.

In the end, some 4,000 people were affected and the problem was traced to a sewage pipe which ruptured which led to sewage entering a well supplying part of the town.

There was a second , less serious, contamination incident in the town in 1997.

This was again raised in the Dail, this time by then Kildare North TD Emmet Stagg, who said the authorities took effective action quickly.