Irish Water to address 'Coca Cola' water in north Kilkenny

Works to clear pipes to begin in August

Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett


Clogh and Castlecomer public water supply after treatment

Clogh and Castlecomer public water supply after treatment

Irish Water says it is working to address issues around the discolouration of the water supply in the Clogh/Castlecomer area due to the presence of the mineral, Manganese.

The presence of this naturally-occurring mineral in the raw water, while posing no health risk, causes discolouration with some residents describing the water as looking like “Coca Cola”.

Customers in that area have to run their taps every Thursday morning for up to 20 minutes until the water runs clear and in some cases the water in still brown several days later. 

North Kilkenny councillors were furious that officials from Irish Water declined to attend a meeting to answer questions about water issues in the area.

Cllr John Brennan said previously, "The Council, on behalf of Irish Water, put chloride into the system every Wednesday night.

“And on Thursday, in order to flush out the system, the taps have to be left on. Irish Water are trying to promote water conservation but within half an hour there are thousands of gallons flushed down the system.

“It’s affecting 200 homes in Clogh, Moneenroe and the rural areas of Castlecomer. Some 200 families are turning on their taps for 30 minutes."

This has been a problem in Clogh/Castlecomer for many decades due to the geological and hydrological conditions in the area but the issue has been particularly pronounced in recent weeks “due to depleted levels of water in the reservoirs as a result of the warm, dry weather”.

This has caused Manganese deposits to become more concentrated in parts of the network.

In a statement on Monday, Irish Water said that both they and Kilkenny County Council recognise that this issue is causing “severe inconvenience for customers in the area and we are proposing improvement works aimed at tackling the issue in the short to medium term”.

The water utility said: “Works will be challenging as Manganese is a particularly difficult parameter to remove from the raw water but Irish Water will make every reasonable effort to reduce levels in the drinking water supply.

“These works will involve refurbishing key elements of the Clogh Water Treatment Plant; implementing a reservoir cleaning programme in the area; and carrying out ice-pigging to remove Manganese deposits that have built up over many years in the pipe.”

Assessment and testing of the Clogh Water Treatment plant infrastructure is currently underway and based on this it is proposed to carry out an interim refurbishment of the existing chemical dosing and filtration systems in the coming months with the aim of reducing Manganese in the treated water.

A reservoir assessment and cleaning programme is currently ongoing and includes a number of reservoirs in the Kilkenny area.

The four reservoirs supplying the Clogh/Castlecomer area (Kiltown, Aughamucky, Moyhora and Gorteen) are included in the scope of this programme and will be prioritised for cleaning in July and August 2018.

It is confirmed that the full extents of the network are to be cleaned using a technique called ‘ice-pigging’.

Ice-Pigging is a pipeline cleaning process in which an ice slurry solution is pumped into a pipeline under pressure to remove built-up sediment and deposits and is a very effective solution for the removal Manganese deposits.

It is proposed that Ice-Pigging will be carried on the network following the treatment plant refurbishment works and reservoir cleaning works in August.

Irish Water added: “We are continuing to examine solutions to address this problem in the longer term, including the option of identifying a new source of raw water.

“However this is a long-term investment requiring significant forward planning, design and lead-in time. It is hoped that the actions outlined above will help address the discolouration issue in the interim.”

James O’Toole, Irish Water’s operations lead for Kilkenny, said: “This is a legacy issue associated with the aging water supply infrastructure and the natural conditions of the area.

“We have now committed significant investment to improving water quality in the area and while we acknowledge that the naturally occurring Manganese is very difficult to remove from the raw water we would like to reassure customers that we will take all reasonable steps to work through the constraints facing us to minimise the manganese in the drinking water supply.”

Irish Water reminded residents of the importance of conserving water where possible, particularly during the present dry spell which will help maintain adequate levels of water in the network while this remedial work is being carried out.