Council battling to remove chemicals from water

KILKENNY COUNTY COUNCIL has moved to tackle the issue of a possible carcinogenic chemical that has been found in two water supplies in County Kilkenny.

KILKENNY COUNTY COUNCIL has moved to tackle the issue of a possible carcinogenic chemical that has been found in two water supplies in County Kilkenny.

Two water treatment plants in Kilkenny were found to have elevated levels of trihalomethanes (THM). The water treatment plants at Radestown, in Kilkenny City, and in Inistioge were both found to have higher than permitted levels of THMs.

The elevated levels of THMs were discovered by Tony Lowes the founder of an environmental non-governmental organisation, Friends of the Irish Environment. According to figures released to Mr Lowes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) samples taken in 2009 show that water in Inistioge was more than twice the permitted levels of THM. The Inistioge samples taken on August 28 2009 were more than twice the level permitted by the EPA. 288 µg/l or parts per billion. Samples taken at Radestown which serves Kilkenny City was also found to have higher than permitted levels of THMs when a reading recorded 201 µg/l. The EPA guidelines were revised downwards in 2008. The permitted levels of THMs in drinking water is now 100 µg/l.

Since the figures were obtained by Friends of the Irish Environment Kilkenny County Council has moved to rectify the problems with high levels of THMs in the water. The issues that were present in Inistioge have been rectified, according to a water services engineer with Kilkenny County Council, Michael Murphy. Mr Murphy said that the issues in Inistioge had been resolved with the installation of a new treatment plant. According to Mr Murphy the problems at Radestown will be addressed in the near future. Mr Murphy said that the council was in talks with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to secure major investments to upgrade the supply and treatment system for Kilkenny city. The current plant is over 100 years old and was never designed to remove the required level of organic matter from the raw water to prevent THM formation.

Mr. Murphy commented that the THM level in Radestown has been reduced significantly due to significant investment in operational improvements in recent years. Typically the level of THMs ranges from 80 - 120µg/l which considering the allowable limit is 100µg/l, does not present a public health risk. However Kilkenny County Council is committed to implementing the upgrade proposals as soon as possible to ensure full compliance with all relevant water quality standards, including THMs.