A Clare-born scientist with Irish Water will lead the utility’s participation in National Science Week 2022 which runs from 13 – 20 November and celebrates science in our everyday lives.
The theme for this year is ‘Infinite Possibilities’, focusing on how science can improve our lives and help us to make positive choices that will impact the environment, our health, and our quality of life. This is especially important during these unprecedented times while we are all try to navigate through a landscape of a rapidly changing climate and energy crisis.
As part of Science Week, Irish Water is profiling several of our most innovative and ground-breaking scientists and the vital work they do in the water and wastewater industry and the role that science plays in safeguarding our water supplies and the environment.
For John Leamy, Drinking Water Compliance Lead at Irish Water, “Science in its purest form is the pursuit of truth.” Originally from Co Clare, he has been based in Kilcormac, Co Offaly for most of his working life. It is John’s mission to ensure that the water that flows from taps in County Offaly, the Midlands, and across the country is clean and safe to drink. He leads an expert team of specialised scientists at Irish Water that have in-depth knowledge into the chemical and physical processes involved in treating water.
Speaking about his role at Irish Water, John Leamy said, “Every year Irish Water conducts approximately. 180,000 tests from 9,000 samples across 730 supplies. This generates a lot of data, which must be analysed, processed, and reported. This data provides valuable information in terms of how water treatment plants are performing in Ireland in order to take action when necessary to ensure water supply adheres to the highest standards.”
John added, “This huge task is then subsequently coordinated in the form of an annual sampling plan – which is rolled out to our local authority partners to implement. The role of science in ensuring clean and safe drinking water to the people in the Midlands and across Ireland can never be underestimated nor taken for granted.”
John has had a varied career to date across a wide range of industries and organisations, however all positions have been rooted in scientific, technical, and engineering disciplines. When he joined the Irish Water family in 2013, he was responsible for delivering Irish Water’s first ever Chemicals Framework and oversaw the migration of all Local Authority electricity accounts to Irish Water. Since 2014 drinking water compliance is what drives John’s passion for finding scientific solutions to protecting Ireland’s water supply.
Irish Water scientist, Clare native John Leamy
John Leamy’s role involves regular engagement with numerous local and national stakeholders.
“The primary purpose of the Drinking Water Compliance team is to ensure Irish Water complies with the law – which in terms of drinking water quality is the Drinking Water Regulations. Irish Water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). and it is their job to supervise Irish Water and assess how we comply with these regulations.”
John would strongly encourage students in the Midlands and across the country to consider a career in science.
“Some of the most significant advances made by humanity have been rooted in science. The technology we all take for granted today started off as an observation that turned into an experiment, that turned into findings, that turned into an application for humankind.”
Living in an uncertain world, where the climate crisis dominates the agenda both in Ireland and internationally, scientists will be at the forefront across many disciplines to provide solutions for the new realities we live in.
John’s interest in science stems from the fact that there are so many options available to students considering a career in science; research, industry, teaching, compliance and above all to face the challenges of a changing climate now and into the future. For John, delivering safe and clean drinking water in a sustainable manner is essential to future-proof this precious resource for generations to come.
For further information on Irish Water’s events throughout the country as part of Science Week, visit www.water.ie/scienceweek