Irish Water taken to court over ‘floating excrement' in bay

February 17th, 2018 7:25 PM

By Jackie Keogh

George Salter Townshend at the pier in Castletownshend with the new ‘no bathing' signs. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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RAW sewage going directly into the sea at Castletownshend where excrement is visible floating in the water has resulted in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) taking Irish Water to court. 

George Salter Townshend, who lives in the area, said: ‘It is appalling, revolting and disgusting that, in this day and age, Castletownshend and other towns and villages around the country, do not have a proper sewage treatment system.’

Mr Salter Townshend said he has tried for over 40 years to bring forward a scheme that would ensure the proper treatment of sewage in Castletownshend, and that he and his late mother were willing to give land, free of charge, to facilitate such a scheme. As far back as 2015, an EPA report on Urban Waste Water Treatment indicated that not enough money had been allocated to prevent raw sewage being discharged into rivers, lakes and the sea.

On that occasion, the EPA warned that Irish Water were at risk of incurring hefty fines from the EU in respect of the villages, towns and cities that failed to comply with mandatory EU standards.

Although some schemes have been put in place since then, Mr Salter Townshend said: ‘The situation in Castletownshend has deteriorated rapidly and you can now see excrement floating in the water.’

A spokesperson for the EPA confirmed that the case will be listed for mention in the District Court in Dublin on Tuesday, February 13th. But it may not go ahead on that day.

In the meantime, Mr Salter Townshend said the situation in Castletownshend has become so bad that a sign has been erected on the pier warning people that the water is not suitable for bathing.

Mr Salter Townshend said that to allow the problem go untreated is ‘reckless and a threat to public health.’ 

He explained that the village can be divided into two areas: the newer housing developments have their own sewage scheme, and the 40-plus older houses in the village that are without a scheme.

‘Everyone will blame Irish Water for this travesty, but the fact remains that successive governments have ignored the problem for decades,’ he said.

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