Use of bottled water continues for Killeavy residents affected by contamination

August 6, 2018

 Residents of more than 40 homes in Killeavy are continuing to use bottled water for drinking and cooking after the supply was found to be contaminated from a fuel spill.

The issue came to the fore following last weekend’s heavy rain that led to a drop in pressure and subsequent telemetry failure, after which residents reported an unusual smell and taste from tap water, described as similar to petrol or oil.

Teams from NI Water were tasked to obtain samples from the water supply to the affected homes on the Carn Road, Green Road and Ayallogue Road, near Meigh.  As a precautionary measure, bottled water was issued and customers were advised to avoid using tap water for drinking or cooking.

Following investigation, NI Water revealed that a disused pipe containing “residual diesel/petrol” had been discovered in the water system.  The 18in pipe had lain undetected despite extensive work being carried out following a similar incident three years ago.  In 2015 a fuel spill had entered the distribution system, impacting on the water quality, and led to substantial remedial work being carried out, including replacing an air valve, pipe work and stop valves. 

Commenting on this recent repetition of contamination to the water supply, a spokesperson for NI Water said: “As this situation has reoccurred, further investigations have uncovered a disused pipe, approximately 18 inches in length, which contained residual diesel/petrol. We have now disconnected this pipework from the system.   We are also arranging to have a section of watermain and services replaced with barrier pipework to avoid any future ground contamination impacting on the water supply.   NI Water is liaising with NIEA in relation to the ground contamination.”

Warning customers against using the mains water supply for drinking or cooking, NI Water says it will continue to flush the system “as long as necessary to resolve the problem” and will update customers during the process.

“Our number one priority is the quality and safety of drinking water and our policy is to err on the side of caution.   If we believe there is cause for concern in relation to your drinking water, we will keep you informed,” the spokesperson said.