IT was 47 years in the planning but finally the Feakle Sewerage Scheme, alongside its sister sewerage scheme in Scariff and Tuamgraney, was officially opened by Mayor of Clare Councillor Pat Hayes at ceremonies held last Friday.
Formal planning of the Feakle Sewerage Scheme dates back to 1964, when Clare County Council commissioned the preparation of a preliminary report and as a local and a long-time elected representative for the area, the mayor was relieved that the schemes had borne fruition.
Mayor Hayes said he was delighted to be in a position to launch the new and upgraded infrastructure for the uniquely situated villages of Feakle and Scariff.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the patience and co-operation of the local communities in supporting the scheme’s advancement. The economic development of the area is directly connected to investment in infrastructure such as this and I am delighted that another step in progressing such development has been achieved to allow for future economic growth,” he said.
The adjoining towns of Scariff-Tuamgraney have had a municipal collection system and basic treatment facilities since the early 1960s. However, the limitations of the existing scheme necessitated an upgrade to meet the council’s environmental and strategic development objectives, having particular regard to the sensitivity status of Lough Derg and its associated catchment rivers.
The schemes were grouped with Quilty-Mullagh on the West Clare coast for procurement purposes and planning permission under Part VIII procedures was completed in 2003, with land acquisition and wayleave notification issued in 2004. Over 70 landowners were directly affected.
In 2006, a partial grant for the grouped scheme of €8.8 million was approved by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, leaving Clare County Council to fund the remaining €6m from its own resources.
The overall project was constructed under two main contracts, beginning in 2007. The first of these commenced in late 2007 with the awarding of the network (civil) contract to P&D Lydon Plant Hire Ltd of Cong, County Mayo. This contract consisted of new foul and stormwater collection sewers for Feakle and new and upgraded sewers for Scariff.
To maximise efficiency in infrastructural upgrades, significant water main replacements were also undertaken and this contract was completed in December 2009. This contract was administered on behalf of Clare County Council by White Young Green/JB Barry.
The second major contract (design, build and operation) was awarded in 2009 to TSSL of Athenry, County Galway and following a commissioning period, which commenced in 2010, the scheme is fully operational. Under this contract, TSSL completed construction of the new wastewater treatment plants at Baurroe, Feakle and Drewsborough, Scariff under the supervision of Nicholas O’Dwyer on behalf of Clare County Council.
TSSL, now trading as Coffey Water Ltd, will continue to operate and maintain the new treatment plants on behalf of Clare County Council until 2031.
Through the duration of the construction period, work has been completed on over 2.5km of new sewers and 1km of new watermain in Feakle, as well as over 6km of new and upgraded sewers in Scariff and 4km of watermain.
The Feakle and Scariff-Tuamgraney Sewerage Scheme were constructed under a bundled grouped scheme along with Quilty-Mullagh for an overall cost of just under €15m. Over €7m of this cost is attributable to the Feakle and Scariff-Tuamgraney schemes.
County manager, Tom Coughlan highlighted the scheme’s importance to Clare as a whole.
“These schemes are of vital importance for the county and particularly, in order that the local authority can meet our obligations under the Water Framework Directive as well as ensuring sustainable development infrastructure into the future. The challenge will be to continue to meet such obligations, within our available budget,” he said.
Completion of this scheme brings the total spend to close on €50m on water services schemes completed by Clare County Council in the past two years.
In this period, the council has completed upgrading of sewerage schemes in Tulla, Clonlara, Corofin, and Newmarket-on-Fergus to a value exceeding €10m.
The council has also overseen a spend of in excess of €30m in water supply schemes in Ennis, Newmarket-on-Fergus, West Clare (Kilkee) and connection of the Ballyvaughan Water Supply Scheme to the regional supply.
Local councillor Joe Cooney commented that while the Celtic Tiger may have moved on, he was glad to see it brought with it infrastructural improvements for Feakle, Scariff and Tuamgraney.
He hoped that going forward, there would be light at the end of the tunnel for other East Clare villages, such as Broadford, O’Callaghan’s Mills, Bodyke and Bridgetown, which would be looking for the development of similar schemes into the future.
“With the present environmental regulations, I would hope this will provide for the development of similar schemes for other villages in East Clare into the future,” he said.
Speaking about the completion of new sewerage schemes, Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said, “A modern sewerage system is a key infrastructure component in any community”.
“As tourism and employment are very important to East Clare, so the provision of these new schemes will further enhance this sector as well as protecting the water quality of our rivers,” he concluded.