No commitment: Irish Water pressed to begin work on treatment scheme for town
IRISH WATER has made no commitment to work on Askeaton's sewerage problem anytime soon — despite the fact that toilet paper has been spotted flowing in waste water on the town’s Main Street.
Local people have been pressing the water authority for almost a year to begin work on a new sewerage treatment scheme for the town.
Irish Water has completed a concept design study which recommended a solution, and the long-awaited project has now received approval to proceed to the design and planning stage, which could take between 12 and 18 months.
When this is complete, Irish Water “will assess the availability of funding” to go on to the construction phase.
But it’s not likely that funding will be available for at least four or five years, as “Askeaton is outside the current Capital Investment Plan which runs from 2017 to 2021, and funding for the construction stage is not available at this time”, according to Irish Water.
They did say that the funding situation “will be assessed at regular intervals”.
Fine Gael TD Tom Neville said that he has been “raising the issue for some time” with Irish Water.
But Fianna Fáil Cllr Kevin Sheahan was unimpressed with the new information from Irish Water, and said that the situation is “extremely urgent”.
“Last week, I witnessed a foul smell coming from an incoming tide in the area close to the new bridge of the Askeaton bypass, and it happened two days in a row.
“I looked at the surface of the water, and it had a nasty looking scum, light brown-coloured scum, on the surface of the water,” said Cllr Sheahan.
“In addition to that, on the Main Street in Askeaton, there’s a manhole opposite the entrance to the funeral parlour in the middle of the road.
“About three weeks ago, I went across the road to visit the funeral parlour. There was evidence of a strong flow of water coming from the manhole onto the street. People were hopping over it and jumping over it to avoid it.
“There was evidence of toilet paper escaping out the sides of the manhole. It was at a very busy funeral. The people from Askeaton and from outside Askeaton were all complaining. I saw that myself,” added Cllr Sheahan.
The Askeaton councillor said that two days later, a publican on the same street had to close his doors because of the strong smell caused by the manhole.
“This very week, a man who rents a house on Main Street, told me the smell of sewerage in his house and on the street, was very very pronounced. It’s not a 10 minute wonder that’s happening every now and again. This thing appears to be out of control for the last month, and we have ample evidence that that is accurate,” said Cllr Sheahan.
“I have never seen that manhole oozing before, and I had a business right beside it for years. It appears that the situation is disimproving as we go forwards.”