Over 70,000 householders and business owners in South Louth and East Meath received good news this week following the removal of their water supply by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from their Remedial Action List (RAL). Significant upgrades carried out at the Staleen Water Treatment Plant coupled with the replacement of a critical pipeline that transfers water from the River Boyne to the treatment plant, and the delivery of other works on the distribution network meant the South Louth-East Meath Public Water Supply scheme could be removed from the RAL for addressing the risk on poor turbidity removal and generation of excessive THMs (Trihalomethanes).

The RAL identifies drinking water supplies that are ‘at risk’ of failing to consistently supply safe, clean drinking water. Following upgrade works by Irish Water working in partnership with Louth and Meath County Councils, extensive monitoring of the performance of Staleen Water Treatment Plant, the distribution network and reservoirs, the EPA has removed the supply from the RAL as the water supply is no longer at risk. Works were delivered on behalf of Irish Water by Murphy Process Engineering.

Irish Water, invested a total of €29 million in the Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath Water Supply Schemes to upgrade the Staleen Water Treatment Plant and complete a number of other projects. Works started on site in 2018 and included the replacement of an aging water main which was prone to bursts, enhanced treatment facilities, significantly improved controls at the plant and an upgrade of the Roughgrange Pumping Station. The Pumping Station, on the bank of the River Boyne, is amongst Irish Water’s top energy users and improvement measures were implemented to significantly improve the energy efficiency and its resilience.

The latest report from the EPA shows that the water supply is no longer at risk from THM formation or turbidity. THMs are chemical compounds which can form over time when natural organic matter such as the tiny remaining particles of twigs and leaves react with chlorine. The addition of chlorine is necessary to adequately disinfect water supplies in order to make the water safe to drink. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water and certain water supplies can be prone to increased levels of turbidity where the water network is old and sediment which has built up over time becomes disrupted due to changes in flow, pressure, or direction.

Speaking about the scheme’s removal from the RAL, Eamon Gallen, General Manager, Irish Water said “Irish Water is committed to ensuring that all of our customers have safe, clean drinking water. Our team of operational, drinking water compliance and project delivery experts worked in partnership with Louth and Meath County Councils to address the issues affecting the South Louth and East Meath Water scheme bringing it to a standard where the EPA determined that it could be removed from the RAL. As a single national utility, Irish Water has been able to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of Ireland’s drinking water treatment plants and to focus investment where the risk to our customers is highest. Nationally Irish Water has adopted a prioritised programme of works which has invested €2 billion to date and significant improvements are being achieved year on year by this approach right across the country. The upgrade of the Staleen water treatment plant and the extensive works carried out on the network leading to the removal of this scheme from the RAL marks real progress and safeguards the water supply for more than 70,000 people in South Louth and East Meath.

Irish Water is committed to ensuring that all of its customers have safe, clean drinking water. Irish Water has a prioritised programme of investment for all schemes on the RAL which is updated quarterly by the EPA for those water supplies where investment in treatment processes is required. We are working in partnership with Local Authorities to address the issues affecting the water supplies which remain on the RAL, to bring them to a standard where the EPA determines that they can be removed.

Louth, Meath

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