Investigation into ‘Kerosene’ in Water Supply to Galway Housing Estate

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Residents at the Moyola Park estate in Galway have been told not to use the water from the public supply until further notice. (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

Article courtesy of | October 14, 2015 | The Irish Times | Shared as educational material

Irish Water tells residents for second time this year not to use water until further notice

Residents of a housing estate in Galway have been told for the second time this year not to use the public water supply after they smelt kerosene in the water from their taps.

Irish Water imposed a ‘do not use’ notice at the Moyola Park estate in Galway city in the interest of public health and on the advice of the Health Service Executive on Tuesday.

The utility said Galway City Council, on behalf of Irish Water, was on site at the estate on Sunday to fix a burst watermain. It subsequently received complaints from residents in relation to an odour coming from the water.

“Staff immediately visited a number of properties, took water samples from the properties, and notified the Health Service Executive to the complaints,” Irish Water said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said an alternative water supply from water tankers had been available to the residents of the 75 houses since Tuesday afternoon.

“Irish Water is also making necessary arrangements for vulnerable customers.”

It said sampling of the water supply was continuing and that the initial sampling taken at the weekend has indicated “the possibility of kerosene pattern” in the water supply.

“It is important to note these tests do not confirm the presence of kerosene in the water and the results of further sampling is due later this week.”

A similar problem in March is believed to have occurred after a supplementary water storage tank was mistaken for an oil tank during a routine delivery of kerosene to a house.

Since Sunday, Irish Water has been flushing the mains and said it would continue to carry out flushing of the pipes on the estate.

“The water restriction will remain in place until the authorities involved are satisfied that there is no threat to public health.”

Residents would be updated as soon as the results of further testing became available. Updates would also be provided on its website at water.ie.

Aoife Cooke, a resident of Moyola Park, told The Irish Times that Irish Water had been urged by residents to immediately tell people to stop using the water after they smelt kerosene from it on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the utility told them to stop using the water.

“We find it unacceptable that this health risk was not prioritised and communicated to residents by Irish Water, despite the fact that it had been agreed at a meeting in June 2015 with residents, Irish Water and Galway City Council that as soon as there is a suspected contamination a warning notification would be issued,” she said.

In March, the residents were informed that “short-term one-off exposure” to kerosene was unlikely to have any long-term health effects.

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