The EU is taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice for its failure to ensure that wastewater schemes in 38 areas – including Clonakilty –are being adequately collected and treated.
However, last October Irish Water clarified to The Southern Star that Clonakilty should no longer be on the EU’s ‘blacklist’.
EU member states were given until the year 2000 to ensure that these urban treatment systems were in place. Failure to meet that deadline resulted in the EU issuing the Government with a warning in September 2015 and again in 2016.
Clonakilty is the only West Cork town named in the list of offending towns, cities and settlements, contained in the EU case. However, other towns in the county include Ballincollig, Cobh, Fermoy, Mallow, Midleton, Passage West/Monkstown, Rathcormac, Ringaskiddy, Youghal and Cork City.
Last October, in response to a query from The Southern Star, Irish Water clarified the situation which saw Clonakilty erroneously on the blacklist of towns needing an upgrade to their water treatment plants.
Irish Water pointed out that Clonakilty has, indeed, an award-winning treatment plant in operation in the town.
‘With regards Clonakilty,’ a statement said, ‘the wastewater treatment plant upgrade was commissioned in May 2015. The regulations require 12 months of verified sampling information, post commissioning, to prove compliance. EPA will verify all compliance data for 2016 early in 2017. We expect to confirm full compliance for the wastewater treatment plant.’
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Irish Water has confirmed that there are now nine water supply systems in Cork county that have been placed on its Remedial Action List because of the level of chemicals the supply systems contain.
The list includes water systems in Allihies, Crookhaven, Durrus, Leap, Drimoleague, Kealkill and Schull – all of which have shown to contain THMs, or trihalomethanes.
THMs are chemicals which, according to the World Health Organisation, contain suspected carcinogens (agents that cause cancer).
They are formed by the reaction of naturally occurring dissolved organic material and chlorine, a chemical used for disinfection.
Irish Water said it would continue to work to ensure high quality water supplies for communities throughout Cork, and it pointed out that the number of schemes on the Remedial Action List had been reduced from 108 to 99.
Irish Water said it has put in place a THM plan and that an investment of €327m would be needed to upgrade all of the affected water supplies before the year 2021.
The Environmental Protection Agency has, however, expressed concern that remedial works to a water supply system in Schull has been put back until 2018. The recommended level of THMs in water is 100ppm (parts per million) and this time, last year, a sample from Schull showed a level of 157ppm.