VISITING yachts and boats are continuing to dispose of their sewage in Kinsale harbour despite there being a state-of-the-art treatment system in place, councillors were told a recent meeting of Bandon Kinsale Municipal District.
The issue was raised by Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) who has asked for a written report from the harbourmaster to explain how visiting yachts and boats dispose of their sewage when moored in the harbour.
‘The harbour is spotless and there should be no reason whatsoever for these yachts to be disposing of their sewage into it,’ said Cllr Murphy.
‘We should try and insist at this stage in getting some legal advice on it to make sure that Kinsale harbour starts off as the cleanest harbour inside in the country.’
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) described the harbour as ‘Kinsale’s jewel in the crown’ and said that it needs to be clean to a very high standard.
In a written report, Kinsale harbourmaster Julian Renault said they were investigating and trying to identify the source of the alleged pollution.
‘According to international and national marine legislation, vessels certified to carry more than 12 passengers are prohibited from discharging into harbours,’ said Mr Renault.
The report also highlighted the Port and Harbour of Kinsale By-laws 1961, which said ‘no person shall throw, cast or empty in any part of the harbour any oil, acid, sewage, fish of four offal, or other noxious fluid or garbage of any kind whatsoever’ into the harbour.
Mr Renault added that according to the Council’s Port Waste Management Plan 2016-2019, the Port of Kinsale can organise, on request by port users and at their own expense, a road tanker to collect sewage from vessels using the harbour. He also said that he believed that smaller vessels were allowing their waste water to be pumped out into the harbour when they do not use shore facilities.
He highlighted that a connection point onto the town’s sewerage system was provided on the Pier Road but if a publicly available pump-out facility was to be provided it would need a floating marina similar to the pontoon that was recently installed in Schull. He added that because of the shallow depths in that area, it would also need to be dredged in order to allow large vessels to access it at all tides.
Senior engineer Brendan Fehily said that Cork County Council have spent millions of euro cleaning up the harbours and should be enforcing the by-laws.
He called for the Council ‘to step up’ and said that they should be looking at providing a proper means and access to international standards on how to get the effluent off the boats.
‘It’s a no-brainer and we shouldn’t be looking at what it costs, but we should be looking to lead the way internationally in cleaning up our harbour,’ said Mr Fehily.