LOCALS in Belvelly are living in a “Third World” situation and may have to wait up to a year for their water supply to be safe, according to councillors.
Residents of 76 properties are using tankered water after a ‘do not use’ notice was reintroduced last month due to elevated iron levels which Councillor Anthony Barry (FG) believes comes from pipes dating from the Victorian era.
Excess iron in the supply can cause a drop in chlorine levels which, in turn, can leave the water at risk from inadequate disinfection.
The notice had only been lifted by Irish Water and the HSE a matter of days before it was reintroduced.
Sinead Sheppard (FG) has won the support of the Cobh municipal district in writing to Irish Water to notify the utility that a 12-month solution period is “not acceptable. Irish Water came back a fortnight ago to say to us that they are looking at a permanent solution. They are talking about the timescale being about 12 months for the work,” she said.
“At present, Belvelly residents are the only people in the entire country who have a ‘do not use’ notice. They can’t even boil the water that’s coming out of their taps. They are living in, basically, a Third World situation.
“There are two young families with babies under a year-old that are dealing with this situation. There are also elderly people.
“The residents are getting the water tested privately themselves. As councillors, we have exhausted every avenue and we are on to Irish Water daily. It’s embarrassing to be elected and have our hands so tied,” she added.
Cathal Rasmussen (LAB) also highlighted that the area is set to be omitted from the Lower Harbour Main Drainage project in Cobh, leaving the houses pumping raw sewerage into the harbour after the scheme is completed.