Ballycoolin water tower: completed in 2007

THE contractor behind a €2.7m 'leaking' water tower in Dublin has had to bring in French engineering experts after two years of failed efforts to fix the problem, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

Claims last week that the Ballycoolin water tower, just off the M50, was "leaking like a sieve" were angrily dismissed although the exact reasons for water seeping through the concrete are unclear.

Contractors Coffey Construction stressed that the tower would be repaired and in the hands of the local authority by the end of the year.

Fingal County Council will not pay Coffey Construction until such time as the tower functions properly.

It is possible the matter could proceed to arbitration if efforts to fix the problem continue to fail although there are no indications of such a move at this stage.

A final four-month repair process has been outlined and it is understood that French experts are being brought in to assist.

The leaks in the tower have not been in the form of dripping water but large damp patches on the exterior of the concrete walls.

Odran Madden, contracts director at Coffey Construction, said the delay in repairing the tower was largely due to how difficult it was to access the upper outer wall.

"The tower was completed in 2007 and we had a successful hydrolics test at the time which means that it passed a leakage test," he said.

"There were damp patches on the outside of it but the leaking was negligible. It's a small problem in terms of the amount of water that is leaking but the issue is... accessing it."

Madden said operations to complete the tower would be finished within four months and the handover should take place by the end of the year.

In a press release last week, Fine Gael councillor Kieran Dennison claimed: "Three years [after it was built] the water tower is leaking like a sieve.

"This is not new technology; water towers have been built for over 150 years. I assume it was specified in the tender documents that the tower would have to hold water."