The councillors of Birr Municipal District welcomed the good news that the major upgrade of the Birr water system has commenced, during their recent meeting.
“Irish Water investment of €21.5 Million in Tullamore & Birr Water Infrastructure,” commented Cllr John Clendennen, “will provide safe & secure water supply for 18,000 local residents, with provision made for further housing developments. The works will be carried out by Irish Water in partnership with Offaly County Council, whilst the day to day testing and quality control operations will continue to be carried out by the reliable Charlie Brophy.” The councillor said he attended the sod turning on Friday December 7 and it was a positive day for the two towns.
A Council official said the contractors who have been appointed to carry out the upgrades are currently on site in Clonaslee.
She added that the upgrade works at Banagher Water Treatment Plan are now complete, and Watermain Rehabilitation works have commenced in Crinkle with Brosna and Mountbolus to follow on. It’s also proposed to create extra storage space for water in Mountbolus. Cllr Clendennen pointed out that the watermain rehabilitation works in Birr a couple of years ago were a bit of a disaster because they went on for way too long, several months, and the roads were in a dreadful condition. “I hope we have learned our lessons from that and won’t repeat what happened.”
It was also pointed out during the meeting that a total of €654,509 was paid during the last year to 17 Group Water Schemes, which includes significant funding for Cadamstown GWS, Ballyboy GWS and Clareen / Aghancon GWS.
Cllr Clendennen told the meeting that they should write to Irish Water complaining about the excessive costs of water connection fees. “Residents have often contacted me about this problem,” he remarked. “They are telling me that connection fees are five figure sums.” The Council official told him that the County Council used to oversee water connections, but that task was taken over by Irish Water, after which the fees increased.
The Council executive told the Councillors that they are constantly monitoring excessive usage or leakage of water, and are dealing with it appropriately. The councillors said they were glad to hear the Council is on top of this significant problem.
The meeting was told as well that the long-running flooding problem at Newtown Ballybritt will be tackled. Cllrs Clendennen and Ormond said it was good to hear this as it had been raised many times.