RESIDENTS of a Clare community will hope foul smells from outdated sewerage works will soon be just a bad memory.
Final site investigation works were undertaken by Irish Water, working with Clare County Council, as part of the planned upgrade to the existing wastewater infrastructure in Ballycannon, Meelick, last week.
Local residents have been forced to endure foul smells from the existing sewage treatment plant for decades.
This project will ensure that there is adequate treatment of wastewater, for now and into the future, as well as protecting human health and safeguarding the environment.
There are plans to construct a new sewage pumping station, replacing the existing wastewater treatment infrastructure.
A new sewer will also be constructed to transfer the sewerage flows from Ballycannon to the existing Wastewater Treatment Plant in Limerick City.
These works will be subject to statutory requirements such as planning permission, land acquisition, appropriate assessment and road opening licences.
In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, Irish Water confirmed site investigation works have been taking place in the area in recent weeks and include a couple of slit trenches on the main road, and on the green area to the south of Ballycannon Heights.
These preliminary works, which were carried out by EPS on behalf of Irish Water, will be used to identify the preferred option to deliver the upgrade works.
Subject to statutory consents such as planning and land acquisition, it is expected that construction works will commence in 2022.
These preliminary works were welcomed by Deputy Cathal Crowe, who described it as the first step in a long-term solution to ensure that the noxious odour issues plaguing homeowners there will be brought to an end.
“This is a massive day for Ballycannon Heights. The site investigation works involve the digging of a number of trial holes to determine the location of where new pipes may be laid and will also survey adjacent lands, with a view to acquiring these by agreement or by compulsory purchase order.
“As soon as the site investigation works have been done, Irish Water will begin designing a new sewerage pump station for Ballycannon and a pipe network to bring raw sewerage uphill through the townland of Knockalisheen, to connect to another station in the Elton Court housing estate.
“From there, it will make its way into the Limerick main drainage system where it will be ultimately be cleansed before re-entering the natural water system.
“This is a significant step forward in what has been an ongoing saga in the Meelick area.
“When residents in Ballycannon first moved in, they were told the existing sewerage infrastructure there was temporary – 30 years have passed since with this ‘temporary’ system still in place, and most summers and autumns are dominated by overwhelming knockout smells coming from the sewerage tanks in the estate.
“I have been down many times to see and smell this problem first-hand – the smells are noxious, and I have left feeling nauseous or having a headache.”
Deputy Crowe stated a number of residents have even told him over the years the ongoing odour issues have caused their overall health to decline.
“I am glad that Irish Water is now finally admitting that the infrastructure isn’t fit for purpose and this major overhaul will ensure it brought up to standard.
“When I served the locality as a councillor, I once used my council chamber speaking time to ask that this problem be given an emergency status.
“This led to immediate remediation works but all along Irish Water has only undertaken low-level works to mask the problem – it needs a bigger capital investment which, thankfully, will now happen.
“As a TD, I have also highlighted this in the Dáil most recently where I outlined how effluent makes its way out of this sewerage system and into a nearby stream – a huge environmental risk.
“I’m delighted for those living in Ballycannon Heights that an end is finally in sight to this issue,” he added.
by Dan Danaher