Limerick Council discuss plan to introduce Orthophosphate into the River Shannon

The Environment Strategic Policy Committee opened up discussions this morning with regard to Irish Waters’ plan to introduce Orthophosphate into the River Shannon.

Irish Water intends to introduce the chemical in order to counteract the damage being done by the lead pipes.

According to, lead can “dissolve into water and it is recognised as a health concern.”

Councillor James Collins is opposed to this motion and believes Irish Water have an ulterior motive.

“The solution is not to add more chemicals to the water, but to remove the lead pipes permanently. Irish Water is choosing this solution because it is the cheapest one,” he said.

In a statement to the Limerick City and County Council, Irish Water said they are only responsible for lead pipes in the public domain and not those inside the household.

Cllr Jerome Scanlan echoed the sentiments of Cllr Collins. “The issue should be to try and rid of the lead pipes, we are not here to debate who is responsible,” Mr Scanlan said.

Business representative for the Environment Strategic Policy Committee, Mark McConnell, believes that Orthophosphate is a good interim solution while the city waits for time and resources that are needed to remove the lead pipes.

“The aim is to replace the pipes, but something has to be done to mitigate the problem that we currently have,” he said.

Cllr Collins reiterated that this is not a temporary solution but one that has long lasting effects.

“It is not an interim solution. Once it is in our pipes it is then in the River Shannon and the water treatment plants and it is there for good. I know studies have said that it is safe, but science develops and thirty years ago they probably said that lead pipes were safe too,” he said.

It was decided that the matter was of a serious concern and it was adjourned until the full council is present.

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