A CAR has been lying submerged in a popular West Cork lake for almost a year, with neither Cork County Council nor Uisce Éireann (Irish Water) taking responsibility for removing it.
Locals in Drinagh are fearful about the quality of their water and the damage that the car submerged in Curraghalicky Lake is causing to the environment. It entered the lake last May following a tragic incident where a man lost his life.
There had been a chance to remove it immediately following the incident, which would have cost considerably less than what it will cost now, but this was not taken up.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard said that ‘it’s beyond belief’ and ‘disgraceful’ that no State body wants to take responsibility for removing the car from the lake.
‘Locals are very concerned that this car is still in a lake that is a really important amenity for Drinagh and West Cork, and it’s part of their signature about what they are,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘They are really worried about the long term damage this car could do to the quality of the water as it’s a drinking water source for residents there.’
He accused both bodies – Cork County Council and Uisce Éireann – of ‘washing their hands’ on the matter.
‘There is a lot of discussion about the quality of water from the Environmental Protection Agency in this country but here we have two State bodies who are refusing to pull a car out of the lake.’
He fears that substances from the car including petrol, oil and paint have been leaking into the lake for the past nine months.
‘This could be resolved in a couple of hours and it should have been done soon after. It beggars belief. Who is running these two organisations? There’s just no joined-up thinking here.’
Meanwhile, Bernie Connolly of the Cork Environmental Forum said this scenario underlines the attitude to water quality, where no one is taking responsibility for it.
‘We have huge issues with water and someone needs to take charge of this. Anything that poses a risk to water should be addressed as soon as possible, especially when it’s about a car in a lake,’ she said.
Bernie fears that there is a ‘lack of procedure’ when it comes to incidents like this.
‘It seems like this has fallen through the cracks and I fear that the likes of petrol, rust and other harmful material will have an impact on water quality.
‘This lake is used for fishing too, so it might also affect the fish.’
A Cork County Council spokesperson told The Southern Star to direct the query to Uisce Éireann as the appropriate authority.
Uisce Éireann said they engaged with the Council initially after the incident with a view to the local authority arranging the removal of the vehicle from the lake.
‘We are not currently aware if they plan to remove it,’ said a spokesperson for Uisce Éireann.
‘The Drinagh water supply is comprehensively monitored for compliance with drinking water regulations and any non-compliances are reported to the EPA.’
‘The unfortunate incident has not generated any parametric non-compliance to date and the supply will continue to be monitored for legislative compliance. A hydrocarbon monitor was installed last year at the lakeside abstraction and this would automatically shut down the raw water supply from the lake if any issue was detected.’