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Water plant behind summer crisis in north east to be upgraded for €24 million

200,000 people in the Meath and Louth areas were left without water as a result of a burst main near Drogheda in late July.

20170726_115752_resized (1) The fitting of a specially-designed replacement part to repair the burst main at Donore, Co Meath, on 26 July 2017 Source: Ervia

THE WATER PLANT associated with a breach that left much of the north-east without a water supply in late-July is to be upgraded at a cost of €24 million.

Irish Water has confirmed that a contract ‘to expand and upgrade the Staleen water treatment plant’, near Drogheda Co Louth, was signed last week.

That contract will include the replacement of the rising main which caused so much trouble for the residents of east Meath and south Louth less than two months ago.

Work on the project is expected to begin before the end of the year.

The Staleen plant currently supplies up to 31,500 cubic metres of drinking water daily to Drogheda and parts of south Louth and east Meath.

“The upgrade of the plant was planned before the burst,” a spokesperson for Irish Water told TheJournal.ie.

ervia The area that had its water supply affected by the burst main in July Source: Ervia

For nearly a week from 21 July, water supply was disrupted in the region after a 50-year-old high-pressure main burst near the Staleen plant in Donore, Co Meath.

As many as 200,000 people were left without water for the duration of the leak, which was located more than four metres underground.

A ‘complex’ repair operation ensued, with Irish Water repeatedly being forced to push back the timeline for completion, with both the outdated nature of the main itself and its location understood to have been key factors in the delay.

Over the course of six days local reservoirs in the area were completely depleted leading to a total loss of all supply in many areas.

Emergency tankers and water-stations were set up in Drogheda and the surrounding areas to alleviate the problem, with the Defence Forces among the bodies recruited to alleviate the situation.

Eventually a specially designed replacement part was commissioned from a Northern Irish firm, the installation of which brought an end to the crisis.

In the immediate aftermath of supply being restored, Irish Water said that an estimated time frame of 18 months had been placed on an ensuing project which would involve replacing pipes that had been damaged by the burst main, with an expected cost of between €2 million and €3 million.

It’s understood that project will now be subsumed within the larger body of work required to upgrade the Staleen plant, which has been re-scoped to incorporate the full replacement of the burst main.

Irish Water said that the overall cost of the burst main and the attendant pipe-damage caused is not yet known.

“The final costs of the repair of the pipe are currently being collated,” the spokesperson said.

An exact timeframe on the final costs is not yet available.

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