Derry’s tap water supply ‘safe’

Minister Durkan at Mobuoy with Alan Warwick, Northern Ireland Environment Agency Water Quality Inspector.
Minister Durkan at Mobuoy with Alan Warwick, Northern Ireland Environment Agency Water Quality Inspector.

Northern Ireland Water have moved to reassure the people or Derry that their tap water is of the highest quality and safe to drink.

The move follows concerns raised by various groups over recent days that toxins from illegal dumps may have compromised the Faughan river system following weeks of heavy rainfall.

The Faughan supplies 60% of all the drinking water which is distributed to homes and businesses across Derry.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan on Thursday visited the area along the Faughan, and is set to return on Friday to meet with stakeholders.

North Down MLA Steven Agnew meanwhile has submitted a question to the Minister at Stormont concerning any water routes from the landfill site to the River Faughan and Tributaries Special Area of Conservation”.

Local Community Activist Paul Hughes yesterday said he was “shocked and outraged” over the alleged pollution issue. He said: “I am firmly of the opinion that this could have and should have been prevented. Concerns were raised many months ago,” he said.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said that there was no evidence of any adverse effect on the quality of Derry’s drinking water from the illegal dump. Visiting the site Mark H Durkan said: “Extensive monitoring of this site has shown no evidence of any adverse impact on either the water quality of the drinking water supply to Derry or to the water quality of the River Faughan.

“I can assure the people of Derry that I’m doing all I can to ensure there is no threat to the quality of their drinking water.”

A spokesperson for NI Water said they were “confident the water being produced for the people of Derry City continues to be of a high quality and we can assure the public they are being supplied with clean, safe drinking water.”

She said that the water quality was rigorously tested and monitored both when it comes in and when it goes out.

She added: “We are aware of the concerns being expressed about pollution in the River Faughan, but we have not had to make any changes to the treatment process in relation to the quality of the raw water taken from the river.”

“Water quality samples of the treated drinking water going into supply to customers in the Derry area are taken daily for testing.

“Water quality monitoring shows that the drinking water supply continues to be of a high quality and within the regulatory standards.”