SHANNON was one of 44 Irish towns that didn’t comply with mandatory effluent quality and sampling standards in 2012, a newly published report has confirmed.
The Environmental Protection Agency report found that Shannon was one of the areas that “did not meet all the relevant mandatory effluent quality standards for biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, nitrogen and phosphorus”.
The report said that Shannon failed to meet the standards set for effluent quality and pointed to “persistent failures”, in that at least 50% of the effluent samples from the town’s treatment plant did not achieve all of the relevant quality standards during 2012.
It said that such a performance is “indicative of poor plant performance or overloading of the treatment plant”.
In a statement, Councillor Sean McLoughlin said he was dissatisfied with the report, claiming it failed to adequately address concerns regarding odours coming from the Shannon Sewerage Scheme.
The former Mayor of Shannon said, “The EPA has already carried out its own investigation into the source of the odour problem and has concluded that the current sewerage scheme is not fit for purpose and has resulted in the problem. However, similarly poorly equipped infrastructure exists in 43 other towns that do not suffer from similar odour problems, which begs the question of what is going through the local sewerage network to cause such problems here.”
While acknowledging Irish Water’s ongoing delivery of mechanical and electrical upgrading works at four pumping stations on the scheme, Councillor McLoughlin said, “There is a general consensus among the people of Shannon that the EPA has not provided satisfactory or detailed answers relating to what other issues, other than the ageing infrastructure, might be contributing to the odour nuisances.
“The odour problems affecting Shannon Town and its residents have been ongoing since 2002 and it is entirely unacceptable that a comprehensive explanation to their source has not yet been adequately addressed. I call on the EPA to provide a detailed report on the nature of chemicals and waste entering the network and to determine what contribution, if any, such materials are making to the odour problems,” he concluded.
The EPA report said that further investment is required at various locations for the necessary improvements to happen. “Urban waste water is one of the principal causes of pollution of our water resources. Considerable investment has been made in the provision of waste water infrastructure throughout the country, as outlined in the Reform of the Water Sector in Ireland Position Paper. However, further investment in infrastructure is necessary to meet European Union requirements such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Water Framework Directive and to ensure compliance with EPA wastewater discharge authorisations.
“This investment will have many benefits for Ireland, as clean water is a valuable resource and is important to public health, the tourism industry, food production and other industrial sectors. In some cases, where the required infrastructure is in place, operational and maintenance issues have prevented waste water from being consistently treated to the required standards,” Councillor McLoughlin said.