By Owen Ryan
WORKS which should help cut out the foul odours that are plaguing Shannon have begun, but Clare County Council have warned that things may get worse before they get better.
Interim remedial works began at the Tradaree Point wastewater treatment plant at the weekend.
The work will continue into the New Year and aims to reduce sewage-related odours.
“Clare County Council wishes to alert residents on a precautionary basis, that odours may be generated during the desludging operation because of the nature of the operation itself,” said a Council spokesman.
“Tanks will have to be drained down in sequence, and this may expose solid materials gathered on the floors of the tanks which may be a source of odour while they are being removed. However, even though the operation may cause odours in itself, the overall purpose of the operation is to alleviate odours in the longer term.
“The Council has also secured aeration equipment to blow additional air into the tanks once they are desludged and refilled in sequence. This measure, when combined with the scheduled desludging works, is designed to alleviate odours emanating from the WWTP.”
Councillor Patricia McCarthy said that the works that are being done now, should be just a matter of routine, “It should be part of ongoing maintenance, there’s no way the build up should have been allowed to happen. I think it’s part of the cut backs in services that have been seen in recent years.”
She said that the works won’t prevent the smell fully, and that there are other issues beyond the WWTP’s capacity.
“They’re not promising that it’ll go away completely, but they’re saying that the work will help it. Equally, we have to know that the plant is capable of taking whatever’s going into it and I think that’s the critical issue going forward.”
Her fellow independent councillor, Gerry Flynn, said that he doesn’t believe that the works which are going to take place in the coming weeks will make that much of a difference.
“The tank is septic down there, I’ve been told that by people more knowledgeable than myself, it’s gone septic and clogged itself up. The waste going in is supposed to pass from one container to the other, be treated as it goes and come out the other end reasonably clean. What’s actually happening is that the whole system is clogged up, sludged up. All they’re going to do is take that sludge out of it, dispose of it in a similar way to how they’ve disposed of sludge all along, maybe spread it around the area down there which would increase the smell in the area. But does it mean that a decrepit plant is going to operate any better? I don’t think so.”
He claimed that the Council hasn’t done the work that is required to stop issues with the plant from emerging.
“The Council were advised before they took it over from Shannon Development that careful management would mean that no significant capital expenditure would have to be put in place, in relation to the infrastructure. I doubt if they kept on the same level of staff as Shannon Development had, they had 13 people employed and two contractors. Did Clare County Council carefully maintain and manage the system? It doesn’t look like they did.”