The repair of over 4,300 water leaks around the county has resulted in a 22% drop in the amount of water that needs to be processed and could mean that some of the proposed capital projects around the county are no longer needed, according to a Kilkenny County Council official.
The level of unaccounted-for water has dropped from 56% four years ago down to just over 40% senior engineer Billy Mernagh told this month’s council meeting.
He told members that the funding for leak detection had run out and the funding for leak repairs was about to run out, so that both will have to be funded by the council itself, but he said the good news was that over 4,300 leaks have been repaired in the last four years, an average of five leaks per working day.
This also means that there are far fewer problems with water pressure around the county, he said, and that “many developments can now proceed on the public water supply because of the water that we saved.”
Mr Mernagh also outlined progress on some of the water and waste water treatment plants around the county.
Of the Ballyhale waste water treatment plant, he said that the outfall completion is due for 2013, while the Kilmoganny plant is due to be up and running before the end of this year.
For the Inistioge-Thomastown water supply – which Mr Mernagh described as “our main priority” – he said that the council has approval to go to construction on the €6 million scheme. “We have never been remotely close to that before,” he said, adding that the funding is in place and that there should be “activity on site there” by the end of next year.
Of the Purcellsinch waste water treatment plant, he said the council had approval from An Bord Pleanála for the environmental impact statement. Regarding the 30-year-old plant, he said: “Our problem is not the volume; it’s to bring it up to standard. The new plant will be smaller but it will do a better job.”
Of the Freshford waste water treatment plant, he said that the consultants had gone into liquidation but that it “should not create a huge delay on the scheme” with the plans still awaiting An Bord Pleanála’s approval.
Asked by Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG) about sewage works at Mullinabro/ Newrath, Mr Mernagh said that the council had applied for funding but had not received it and would apply again next year.
Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh (FG) asked that the council liaise with Galmoy residents who live near the mine and had been given a free water supply by the mine but were worried about future costs for water when the mine closes.
Director of services Philip O’Neill said the council was in discussions with the mine management about the closure, and he agreed to consult with local residents as well.