Raw sewage still flowing out of our towns into sea

November 20th, 2019 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

A sign in Castletownshend advising the public not to swim in the harbour.

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AND Siobhán Cronin


RAW sewage from four West Cork areas is being released every day, an EPA report has confirmed. 

The coastal areas of Timoleague, Castletownbere and Castletownshend, along with Inchigeelagh, have been identified as areas still discharging untreated wastewater, otherwise known as ‘raw sewage’.

Nationally, raw sewage from the equivalent of 77,000 people across 36 towns and villages, is still released into the environment every day. This is down from 38 locations year, the report on Urban Waste Water Treatment, has found. 

Meanwhile, Dunmanway was identified as ‘a large urban area’ that failed to meet the European Union’s treatment standards in 2018.

The report said that the town had ‘the infrastructure already in place, but in 2018 the treatment equipment broke down occasionally, or did not always perform as well as it should.’

Meanwhile, the EPA has pointed out that Bantry is missing from the report because the discharge of raw sewage into the bay does not come under the heading of ‘Urban Waste Water Treatment’.

Noel Byrne, manager of the waste water enforcement team at the EPA, told The Southern Star, that the release of raw sewage into Bantry harbour was a result of ‘mis-connections’ from private pipes.

This is mostly likely a result of sewage form ‘private collections’ running into surface water pipes, because they have not been connected to the sewage treatment system or cannot be connected.

‘We don’t know how many dwellings are involved in Bantry,’ he added, but pointed out that the case was unlikely to be unqiue around the Irish coastline, meaning the instance of raw sewage being released into open water was likely to be more widespread than this week’s EPA report suggested. Raw sewage in Bantry is a matter for Cork County Council, he said, adding that it would be the local authority’s responsibility to ensure the pipes were correctly connected. 

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