Engineer says that a centralised plant for problem areas would be more efficient
THE development of single waste water treatment systems for four North Clare locations is a “waste of resources”, according to a local civil engineer.
Irish Water has confirmed works to end the long-running practice of discharging raw sewage into Liscannor Bay are due to get underway in the coming months following the appointment of a contractor to construct a new wastewater treatment plant.
However, Mick Duffy believes the development of a central treatment plant to deal with waste water issues in Kilfenora, Ennistymon, Lahinch and Liscannor would be far more cost efficient for the taxpayer.
“Kilfenora, Ennistymon, Lahinch and Liscannor all have issues with under capacity or dysfunctional wastewater systems,” Mr Duffy told The Champion.
“It seems to me a pity and a waste of resources that these are treated individually instead of in combination with one appropriate plant treating all.
“Nobody has costed such a solution or considered the value for money which could be achieved including opening up strategic development zones along routes to a central treatment plant. Consultants will not propose such solutions because they gain much more with individual systems,” he claimed.
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, Irish Water outlined working in partnership with Clare County Council, it is committed to eliminating the discharge of raw sewage into Liscannor Bay.
The construction of the new wastewater treatment scheme will bring big benefits to the scenic North Clare village by improving water quality, protecting the local environment and supporting new homes and businesses.
Wastewater in the Liscannor area is currently treated by a septic tank system, which discharges poorly treated effluent into the bay near Liscannor pier.
This long-running practice has impacts on water quality, detracts from the amenity value of Liscannor and does not comply with EU regulations relating to the treatment of wastewater.
To address this, Irish Water is building a new wastewater treatment plant, with capacity for a population of 1,150, along with approximately 1.2 kilometres of sewer pipelines, a pump station and a storm water storage tank. This will ensure that all wastewater from the village will be collected and treated before being returned safely to the environment.
Following the appointment of EPS as the contractor to carry out these works, it is expected that construction will get underway later this summer and take approximately 18 months to complete.
Caroline O’Reilly, Irish Water’s Programme Manager, said this is a major milestone for this project and for the village of Liscannor – one of the most popular destinations on the Wild Atlantic Way. “The discharge of raw sewage into our precious marine environment is unacceptable and ending this practice is a top priority for Irish Water.
“The benefits of this work will be enormous – not only will it ensure cleaner water for swimmers, surfers and other recreational users, but it will also provide a platform for social and economic development in Liscannor.
“The environmental benefits will also be significant, ensuring that wastewater is treated in a sustainable way and returned safety to the environment. Cleaner waters will protect marine life, support biodiversity and enhance the amenity value of the area.”
Irish Water claims it is on track to deliver a programme of unprecedented scale to stop the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated wastewater into seas and rivers. Since 2014, Irish Water has stopped approximately 50% of untreated and inadequately treated wastewater that was being discharged to our rivers and the sea with the completion of 16 plants across the country.
In Clare, new public sewerage schemes are currently planned for five locations where there is untreated wastewater being discharged; in addition to Liscannor these include Kilrush, Kilkee, Ballyvaughan, and Clarecastle.
by Dan Danaher