Anger over ongoing water disruptions on west side of Athlone

Friday, 2nd November, 2018 4:11pm

Anger over ongoing water disruptions on west side of Athlone

Main Street, Athlone, is one of the areas affected by water supply disruption this week. (Image: Google Maps)

Businesses and homes on the west side of Athlone have been enduring a frustrating couple of days after their water supply was shut off without any warning early yesterday (Thursday). 

Interruptions to supply, and low water pressure, remain a problem for some premises in and around the 'Left Bank' and Connaught Street areas of town.

As a result, a water tank was put in place today outside Sean's Bar on Main Street, but water that is taken from it must be boiled before use. 

The problems began yesterday morning when a vast swathe of the town - from the western side of the town bridge as far as Baylough - had its water turned off without any notice. Irish Water said the supply interruption was caused by reservoir cleaning works. 

It was initially expected that water supplies would return in the afternoon or early evening yesterday, but water to many premises remained off until the early hours of this morning. 

One person who contacted the Westmeath Independent yesterday evening said he and his elderly neighbours were left worrying about how they were going to heat their homes, without water, on a bitterly cold night.   

Adam Lyons, who operates the Smoke BBQ and Kin Khao Thai restaurants in the Left Bank area said it had been a "stressful" and difficult evening for all of the restaurants on the west side of town as they worked to wash dishes and maintain their toilet facilities without any mains water supply. 

It was particularly busy night for restaurants as the Athlone IT graduations have been taking place yesterday and today. 

"We had no warning, but it's not the first time. The water has been off a few times in the last few months and when it happens there is no way to call Irish Water and get any up-to-date information from anyone who is 'on the ground' working on the problem," said Adam. 

In response to questions from the Westmeath Independent, an Irish Water spokesperson said the water supply disruptions over the last two days had been the result of "necessary cleaning" of the reservoir, which took longer than expected.

"The reservoir had to be emptied, cleaned and refilled and due to some operational challenges this work took longer than first estimated. 

"This work is now complete. However, it will take a number of hours before full pressure resumes particularly in upper floors in apartment buildings and properties on the extremity of the network," said Irish Water spokesperson Antoinette Tyrrell this afternoon. 

There have been numerous water outages both on the east and west sides of Athlone in recent months and Ms Tyrrell indicated that further water supply issues were likely during the coming months. 

"The recent outages have been due to ongoing operational upgrades taking place at the plant," she said. 

"Due to the age of the Athlone Water Treatment Plant, such works are likely to continue over the coming months, which may result in occasional issues with water supply to the east side of the town. 

"The new plant to be constructed on the Eastern end of the town will ultimately bring about major improvements in this regard."



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