Cllr Michael Gallagher (left) and local residents had voiced their fears over the water supply coming from Lough Bracken.

Work on a 'brand new water supply for Drumconrath' is set to begin next year

Work on a "brand new water supply for Drumconrath" is set to begin next year at an estimated cost of €4million.

The news came at a meeting of Kells Municipal District yesterday (Monday), and follows fears for the safety of the water expressed last week by local residents.

At yesterday's meeting, Cllr Paul McCabe called on the Water Services Department of Meath County Council and Irish Water "to urgently identify and commission an alternative public water supply for the village of Drumconrath, given the ongoing and unacceptable supply outages and boil water notices that have been issued in respect of the current water supply.”

He was told the Council had secured the agreement of Irish Water to invest in the development of a new water source for Drumconrath, to replace the existing principal source, Lough Bracken.

According to the council, extensive trial well drilling and testing was undertaken in the second half of last year. The trial wells drilled and tested proved to be promising. Subject to a specialist hydrogeological report which is expected by February, the development of a new source together with associated pipeline and water treatment plant modification, will then proceed to design, planning, procurement and construction.

Yesterday's meeting was told the new source, pipeline and modified water treatment plant is programmed to proceed to construction in 2023 and to be commissioned as operational in 2024, at an estimated cost in excess of €4million.

"In the meantime, the existing water treatment plant will continue to be operated and maintained to provide the best possible service to the residents and businesses of Drumconrath and surrounding areas," councillors were told.

Cllr McCabe said this was positive news for the community in Drumconrath "who have been understandably frustrated by ongoing boil water notices and disruptions to the water supply, in part due to increased levels of turbidity in the Lough Bracken supply.

"The new water supply will be a ground water source rather than a fresh body source much like the current setup which is fed from Lough Bracken. The existing Lough Bracken system will be decommissioned once the new source is up and running.

"Hydrological investigations are at an advanced stage and the Water Department of Meath County Council are confident that the new ground water supply will be sufficient to meet the demands of the community of Drumconrath. There are just over 1200 houses on the public water supply in Drumconrath.

"Irish Water are now fully on board with Meath County Council and resources will not be a barrier to commissioning the brand new water supply for the community in Drumconrath," said Cllr McCabe.

Cllr Michael Gallagher who has highlighted local resident's concerns about Trihalomethanes (THMs), which may be carcinogenic, in the current water supply said the new supply wouldn't be in place until 2024.

"I would have concern that the proposed new source is close to land, where a lot of organic waste is spread," he said.

Cllr Gallagher has called for the nearby River Dee which supplied the town of Ardee to be considered.

A boil water notice is currently in place for the Drumconrath supply, and while local residents say they are concerned at the dangers from bacteria, they are also extremely anxious about Trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water.