Wednesday 20 June 2007

Council faces court hearing over water contamination

GALWAY City Council faces prosecution over its failure to halt the drinking water contamination crisis that has affected 100,000 people in the county.

It would be the first time ever that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has brought such a prosecution.

Seven other councils have been issued with orders by the agency to clean up their contaminated tap water or face the prospect of a court appearance. Water in the city and county has been contaminated by the deadly cryptosporidium bug since last March.

Hundreds of people have required hospital treatment after becoming ill from the parasite which got into the tap water supply from Lough Corrib water that had been extracted at the Terryland plant.

The possibility of a prosecution moved closer last night after the council failed to meet a June 15 deadline to close the contaminated Terryland water plant and switch over to an alternative supply.

An EPA spokesperson said last night that the council could now feasibly be prosecuted.

However, the situation was being reviewed by the environment agency.

"We are considering our enforcement options." the spokesperson added.

The council has been told it must report to the EPA on a weekly basis on the progress being made to clean up the tap water.

The EPA spokesperson said that seven other councils with water contamination problems had received similar directions from the agency.

Treacy Hogan
Irish Independent

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