Residents in Watergrasshill are taking the fight for their water supply to Brussels for the second time.
A group met with MEP Seán Kelly recently to highlight their case, which has seen one of the two springs in the locality taken out of use. They’re now set to present their case to the secretariat of the Council of the European Union, having previously travelled to Brussels in 2010.
Due to cryptosporidium being detected in the Meenane water supply, locals can no longer use it and have been connected to the Knockraha scheme.
Residents have had Irish Water figures checked by environmental consultants. They claim the levels of cryptosporidium are below the limit of detection of the tests carried out and are effectively nil results.
Barry Curtin, a spokesperson for the planning and development committee of Watergrasshill Community Association, claims that Irish Water have also gotten the EPA and HSE on board. He’s also described the policy of rationalisation with regard to water as being as bad as pollution.
“You’re walking away from pristine water, just because of not wanting the bother of managing them (springs). Centralising the water — putting everyone on the same scheme — you’re going to lose valuable local resources,” Mr Curtin said. “We are going all the way with this. You cannot apply a lean business model like you can to other areas of business.”
However, Irish Water says any detection of cryptosporidium is a serious risk to public health, and the spring will not be brought back into production until adequate treatment barriers have been installed, or a decision has been made on an alternative supply.
Irish Water operations lead for Cork, Neil Smyth, said: “Our priority is to protect public health. By having a connection to an adjoining water supply, the community in Watergrasshill continues to benefit from a normal service that otherwise would require a Boil Water Notice.
“We are investigating the spring at Meenane to fully understand the issues affecting the source. This will inform decisions on any future investment required for the scheme.”
Meanwhile, an EPA spokesperson said: “The EPA is aware that Irish Water is undertaking a national programme of rationalisation where supplies are being decommissioned and replaced by other supplies with a higher level of treatment.
“In relation to the Watergrasshill public water supply, EPA was informed by Irish Water of two cryptosporidium detections in August 2019. EPA is aware that Irish Water consulted with the HSE in relation to both detections.”
However, Watergrasshill locals are going to push for the return of the Meenane supply.