THE EPA has published a report criticising the continuous and ongoing breaches at Kinsale’s waste water treatment plant.
‘Odour is an on-going issue particularly during the summer months … and odour mitigation measures taken to date have not resolved the odour issue,’ it said, adding: ‘On investigation, the cause of the odour was found to be an open manhole at the top of the sludge holding tank.’
The EPA questioned the capacity of the plant to cope with the intake, especially during the summer months, when the sun, heat and lack of wind can exasperate malodorous conditions and there is an increased level of visitors to the town.
The Green party has responded and expressed concern about the negative impact of the existing waste water treatment plant, and its capacity to address existing loads.
‘Taken together with new developments in Abbey Fort, where hundreds of new houses are being built below the existing GAA pitch, and new planning applications for a further 80-plus houses on the GAA pitch, this could result in a huge amount of additional load on the existing struggling infrastructure,’ said the party’s Bandon Kinsale representative Marc Ó Riain.
‘It seems really unfair on local residents that they have to put up with manholes being left open on sludge tanks, pumps and back-ups not working, due to power outages, and what seems to be a lack of control of biological materials and chemicals. This needs to be addressed with great urgency, especially before new houses come on stream for occupation,’ he added.
On researching the topic, and reading the reports, he said it also seems that the Kinsale waste water treatment plant does not have an ultraviolet disinfection process before treated water is released into the river. ‘This is a major concern for the Green party, as local fishermen depend on shellfish harvested directly downstream from the waste water egress point and we have a lot of swimmers and water sports which would be directly affected.
‘The ultraviolet disinfection process kills harmful bacteria which could infect shellfish, potentially leading to illness if eaten. After contacting the EPA it turns out that Irish Water have not risk-assessed the potential damage of released treated effluent into the harbour of Kinsale. We therefore ask that Irish Water, as a matter of urgency, carry out a risk assessment and install ultraviolet disinfection at Kinsale’s waste water treatment plant.’
In September 2021, the Southern Star reported that residents of the Springmount estate in the town were calling for Irish Water to urgently tackle the ‘noxious’ smell coming from the plant.
The smell has become progressively worse over the summer, they said, and residents had considered moving.
At the time resident Adrian McLaughlin said the issue had been ongoing for ‘four to five years at least.’
‘We’re very close to the waste water treatment plant so we get it first and it depends on which way the winds blows.’