Lead levels in water in Limerick were five times over limit

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Cllr Maurice Quinlivan
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan

TESTING of drinking water in a house in St Mary’s Park has confirmed that lead levels were over five times the current acceptable limit.

A resident in St Mary’s Park last week received notification from Irish Water that test results revealed that an ‘un-flushed’ water sample contained a lead concentration of 56.8 micrograms per litre.

The acceptable limit of lead concentrations in drinking water was 25 micrograms per litre until December 24 last year. This limit was reduced to 10 micrograms per litre with effect from December 25, 2013.

According to Sinn Fein councillor for City North, Maurice Quinlivan, this revelation has caused huge concern and outrage in King’s Island. However, he said residents are not surprised as they suspected for a long time that there was a major problem with their water supply.

“A number of people in the area have already been travelling to Ballynanty and Kileely to collect water from the public stand pipes put there after the water in those areas were deemed not safe to drink. People are concerned and rightly angry as they believe the situation in their area is not being dealt with the urgency required,” said Cllr Quinlivan.

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Irish Water recommended as a precautionary measure that people in St Mary’s Park run the water from their taps for “a short period of between 5 and 10 minutes before using it has shown a significant improvement in the lead concentrations”.

Cllr Quinlivan says he is deeply concerned about this advice as testing has shown that water flushed for 5 or 10 minutes, was still well over the acceptable limit in some cases.

“I am worried that Irish water are using HSE advice and saying the Water is okay after flushing, despite the testing showing the opposite is clearly the case. The water is not safe and after flushing the water as testing has shown it is still significantly over the limit. What needs to be done immediately is that standpipes needs to placed in the area and proper advice from Irish water and the HSE delivered across the area,” he commented.

He also wants Irish Water to come forward with a plan to let people know what action they are going to take to have the pipes in the area removed.

“They must stop installing water meters which nobody wants and transfer these workers to work on the replacement of lead pipes across the City as a priority,” he said.