Repair bill of €136,000 for Dublin water meter leaks

Dublin city councillor Naoise Ó Muirí says Irish Water must foot bill for repairs

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A total of 12,677 meters were installed in the city up to the end of last month and the council was called to repair 247 leaks left behind once the contractors had left. Photograph: Collins
Olivia Kelly

First published: Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 01:00

Dublin City Council has had to repair leaks at almost one in 50 homes where water meters have been installed by contractors working for Irish Water.

Council workers have fixed almost 250 leaks, at a cost of €136,000, resulting from damage to pipes following the installation of the meters.

Private contractors, employed by Irish Water., have been installing meters at stopcocks outside homes in the Dublin City Council area since last October. A total of 12,677 meters were installed in the city up to the end of last month and the council was called to repair 247 leaks left behind once the contractors had left.

Repair costs
The Department of the Environment has paid €89,000 of the repair costs, but the council has been told the department “will not be refunding any further costs incurred”.

The council said it understood that Irish Water will repay the costs associated with repairs required in 2014 “and beyond” as the utility now had the responsibility for funding water services.

“Details of this fund and the associated application procedure have yet to be finalised,” the council said.

Fine Gael councillor Naoise Ó Muirí said there was a quality and standards issue that needed to be addressed. “Clearly, if the council is having to send out repair crews this frequently after meters go in, there are quality issues,” he said.

‘Out of pocket’
It was essential that Irish Water pay for these repairs, he said. “We can’t have a situation where the council, or any other local authority, is out of pocket, the council must be fully reimbursed for these costs.”

A spokeswoman for Irish Water said that where a contractor was “deemed liable for damage to a pipe” the contractor would be responsible for covering the cost of the repairs. She was not able to provide figures on the level of repairs that have been completed following installations around the State, but said “in overall terms the rates are not higher than expected”.

Contractors are installing meters at more than one million homes at a cost of €539 million. The installation programme is expected to continue until 2016. More than 100,000 have been installed to date, Irish Water said.