Askeaton could finally be in line to get an upgraded sewage treatment plant - some 30 years after it was first mooted.
It was confirmed that week that Irish Water has appointed consultants to begin the design progress for the long-awaited scheme.
Raw sewage from the town has been flowing into the river Deel for many years as the existing sewage treatment plant was unable to deal with the volume of waste coming from the town.
Local councillor Kevin Sheahan said he would be hopeful that construction work could get underway within two years.
“It is fantastic news and the people of Askeaton will be delighted to hear that at long last after 30 years, there is a response at last,” said the Fianna Fail councillor.
He claimed that just last week a number of residents were forced to leave their properties on the main street due to the smell of sewage from a blocked drain.
“We have raw sewage going into the river and then, because we do not have anything other than settlement beds which were built in the 1940s and are totally inadequate for the quantity of the product, it has nowhere to go other than into the river Deel,” said Cllr Sheahan.
“I am 30 years a councillor and one of the first things I asked about was a sewerage plant for Askeaton,” he added.
A spokesperson for Irish Water confirmed that the design process had begun: “Consulting Engineers have been appointed by Irish Water to advance the design of Askeaton Sewerage Scheme and initial meetings have already taken place to consider the progress of the project.”
The current sewerage plant was built in the 1940s and was designed to cater for a population of 550. However, it is now serving an population of 1,150 people.
The news was also welcomed by Fine Gael’s Stephen Keary who said that up to now, the issue of sewage treatment for Askeaton had only been given “lip service”. “We now see the positives of the establishment of Irish Water,” he said.
“Irish Water have given a huge commitment to Athea in the region of €800,000 and I am hoping that a similar commitment will be given to Askeaton in the coming months when the design stage is completed,” Cllr Keary added.
Independent Councillor Emmett O’Brien also hailed the announcement. “It is frankly unacceptable that in one of the main towns in County Limerick that raw sewerage is being pumped into the Shannon and into the Deel.”