Irish Water working to restore water and secure supply for customers in the wake of Storm Ophelia
18th October 2017
17 Oct 2017 - The Irish Water Crisis Management Team was mobilised over the weekend and has overseen the impact of the storm on water and wastewater centres from the National Operations Centre in Dublin along with the operations teams in each of the three regions.
The principal impacts were loss of power to treatment plants and pumping stations, pipeline bursts which couldn’t be repaired until conditions were safe for crews and direct damage to facilities. Irish Water is currently working with the ESB and the local authority staff to restore water and secure supply for customers around the country.
At the moment Irish Water estimate that there are:
69,000 customers with no supply (down from 109,000 at the peak)
Where customers were reliant on water storage this number has decreased by 260,000 to just over 100,000 and their full supply has been restored.
Counties worst affected by the outages are Cork and Waterford
During the night, ESB Networks has been working on several of these schemes and we are confident that these numbers will be significantly reduced in the coming hours. In many other schemes, generators are maintaining power supply pending full restoration of mains service.
To meet the demands of those plants without power, working with the local authorities, Irish Water put 16 generators in place at drinking water plants. This has restored supplies to 78,000 people in the most impacted areas of the south of the country.
We have a further 23 generators on route to assist to restore supplies to 64,000 in the most impacted areas, particularly around the south of the country.
Irish Water is currently co-ordinating up to 30 water tankers to the affected areas and are working with local authorities to ensure we have more if we need them.
Galway was the worst affected area in the North West region.
All of the problems encountered were due to power outages and most have been rectified over night.
Locally the Galway Incident Management Team met throughout the day yesterday to assess the issues and ensure schemes were prioritised for restoration of power.
Thirteen schemes in total were affected by Storm Ophelia in Co Galway.
In Woodford electricity power has returned and the water plant is back in production.
In Glenamaddy there is no power. A generator has been mobilised to the water treatment plant and production has resumed. However a booster pump at the reservoir is not operating which is leading to some customers experiencing low pressure. Reserves are dwindling and customers are asked to conserve water as much as possible.
In Ballinasloe there is a specialist contractor on site working to resolve the issue. The plant is back in production and water levels are being restored in the reservoirs. Further works are required at the plant but these should not affect water production.
Portumna water treatment plant is back in full production since lunch time today.
Power outages caused issues at other plants and generators were used to supply the electricity supply until full supply was restored. These included Ballygar, Kilkerrin-Moylough, and Ahascragh. Full supply is restored to these areas.
The Williamstown plant continues to be powered by a generator.
Other schemes where outages were experienced but which didn’t need generators due to sufficient storage were Dunmore/Glenamaddy, Loughrea supplying Craughwell, Mountbellew and Mid Galway.
Yesterday (Monday) afternoon there were water outages in Gort due to a power outage at the treatment plant. This scheme was prioritised by the ESB and operations returned to normal late afternoon.
The Kinvara water supply, which was without power and at a critical level yesterday afternoon, was also prioritised by the ESB at the request of Irish Water yesterday.
Irish Water, working in partnership with Galway City and County Councils would like to thank the ESB for their hard work in restoring power to our treatment plants.
Across the country we also have a number of wastewater treatment plants and a significant number of sewage pumping stations where power failure is resulting in discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater to receiving waters. As with drinking water, the number of installations affected are being reduced as power supplies are restored. We currently estimate that approximately 30 wastewater treatment plants are without power nationally. Our focus now is to get these plants fully operational as soon as possible.
The Irish Water Crisis management team will be maintained in place until these issues are fully addressed. Our focus today is on working with ESB Networks to prioritise schemes for power restoration, looking at options for supplies which may continue to be affected including deploying generators where this is practical and making emergency tankered supplies available where necessary. We will be providing information to communities affected and contacting vulnerable customers who need support.
Irish Water would like to thank the ESB Networks for all their assistance during this storm event and where possible prioritising the restoration of power supplies to the water and wastewater treatment plants.
Irish Water is grateful for the commitment of its staff and those of the local authorities who are working to address the issues arising from the storm as quickly as possible. We are also grateful for the patience and forbearance of our customers during this event.
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