Serious Water Quality Issue on College Road and Beyond

Stephen Enright holding a bottle of water from his kitchen tap while the bottles on the table show varying degrees of iron sedement at the meeting in Kilbanivane on Wednesday evening. With Mr. Enright are, seated: Edward Horgan, John Ryan and Maurice Casey. Back from left: James Cronin, Charlie Nelligan, David Pembroke, Charlie Farrelly, Colette Nelligan, Kate O’Mahony, Donal Nelligan and Thade O’Donoghue. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Loughquittane reservoir and purification plant which supplies the water to Castleisland – among other areas. Corroded, iron pipes are ruining the benefits of clean water for some Castleisland residents at present.

Those of us who believed that questionable tap-water quality in Castleisland was a thing of the past will get a bit of a suck-in to find out that all is not ‘well’ – if you’ll pardon that.
Some time in the late 1960’s there was a rumour that the town’s supply of water from the little reservoir in Dooneen had been compromised after a donkey fell into it and drowned.

Sweet Gallons and Buckets

Then, the people of the town got out their sweet gallons and buckets and went to the fountain or the road-side wells in Tullig or Tralee Road – until all the talk of the drowned donkey dried up.
Its body was never recovered as far as I can remember.
But that was strictly a town problem as most people out the country and beyond the bridges had their own little wells and a barrel for rainwater at the corner of the house.
Compromised Tap Water
Believe it or not, but compromised tap water is now a reality again in Castleisland and for the people of College Road, Kilbanivane and up as far as Cragg and Churchtown in particular.
A meeting of local residents in a private house in Kilbanivane on Wednesday night was attented by representatives of families from these areas.
Loughquittane Water
Kilbanivane and water problems are now synonymous. Up to now it was the flooding of the nearby cemetery that linked the area to the problem.
Now it’s the drinking or tap water that has come to the surface in this and neighbouring areas. It’s all centering on the line which branches off from the town supply of Loughquittane water from the old library upwards.
Old And Corroded Pipes
The bother is that the supply to the houses in question is conveyed in very old and corroded iron pipes.
Somehow, the water is causing havoc when it gets into the houses. Many of the neighbours there have costly evidence of copper tanks and other fittings which have been corroded and rendered useless by the iron content of the supply.
New Nursing Home Traffic
The surface of College Road is to be upgraded for the anticipated volume of traffic which the new Castleisland Nursing Home will bring next year.
The residents of the area want the problem causing pipes replaced before the roadwork is done.
Tanker of Fresh Water
Local election candidate, Charlie Farrelly has some close friends in the area and he has been in contact with Kerry County Council on their behalf.
As an immediate relief plan, Charlie has asked for a tanker of fresh water to be made available to the residents while pushing for a resolution to the overall problem.
Unbelievable Situation
“This is an unbelievable situation this day and age. The residents here have been complaining every day since almost since the beginning of the year and they have kept a file of their calls and responses.
“The problem is getting progressively worse and causing more damage as the year moves on,” said Mr. Farrelly – who was invited to attend the meeting of residents during the week.
Kerry County Council’s Response
Kerry County Council engineer, Niall Ó Donaill is the man in charge and his time is split between the office here in Castleisland and one in Dingle.
We spoke by phone on Friday and he outlined Kerry County Council’s up to the minute position as follows:
“There are 76 Houses, three schools and a nursing home (under construction) served by this 1Km long, 125MM diameter, old and defective cast iron water main on College Road, Castleisland.
While any flushing effect / flow disturbance on the main may result in the water becoming iron-red in colour, those worst affected include the ten houses at the lower points on the road, near the three graveyards.
Political Representations
Following a public meeting on Wednesday evening, there were further political representations made to this office, and a Whats App video genuinely showing orange coloured water being poured from a kitchen sink tap was also in circulation.
There was a suggestion that ‘tanker’ water should be provided.
A council official called on Thursday to three of the houses – Ryan’s, Enright’s and Pembroke’s – near the graveyards and spoke to residents at two. There was no reply at the other.
Dirty Water Documented
One was the house where the video was made and the resident showed the official a similar video of dirty water made just 20 minutes earlier…
He was actually in the throes of sending samples of orange coloured water, some with residue, to Southern Scientific Services Ltd, a nearby water testing laboratory.
The taps were running ‘clear’ at both houses and also at two of the graveyards when checked by the official.
Problem Is Intermittent
It appears that the problem is intermittent and that running of the tap for a short period will ‘clear’ the flow.
An application to Irish Water for funding to replace the first / southernmost 350M (because there’s an imminent road upgrade job over this length only) of the main on College Road was made on March 19th under the Network Mains Replacement Tranche 5 funding, which is due to be allocated in the coming weeks…..
KCC took a sample this week and a result is awaited.
Flushing of the watermain has been discontinued because it exacerbates the problem.”

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