BY DYLAN MANGAN
FOUL odours, reportedly coming from Castletownbere’s wastewater plant, need to be treated as a public health concern and dealt with immediately, according to local politicians.
The water treatment plant was built in a €13m project which also upgraded the surrounding infrastructure as part of a plan to eliminate the discharge of untreated wastewater from Castletownbere into Bantry Bay.
However, residents living close to the plant have reported significant malodour coming from drains, leading to calls for immediate intervention. Holly Cairns TD (Social Democrats) said that the smell is ‘unbearable’ for those living close to the treatment plant.
‘Sickening odours and gasses are coming up from the drains,’ she said. ‘While this situation is completely unacceptable it is even worse because this is a new treatment plant,’ she added. ‘We all welcomed the new system as raw sewage was being discharged directly into Bantry Bay until then. However, it is clear there are major issues with the wastewater treatment.’
According to Deputy Cairns, this is not an isolated case, as she says she has been working with locals in Belgooly and Kinsale on similar issues. Her party colleague Cllr Ross O’Connell said that the issue needs to be treated as a public health concern and dealt with immediately. ‘It is disgraceful that people can’t open their windows or use their gardens with the malodours,’ he said. ‘The Tallon Road residents live in a beautiful area overlooking Bere Island and Bantry Bay but they can’t even enjoy it.’
‘The very least we can expect from a new wastewater treatment plant costing over €13m is that it works properly.’ Irish Water said it was ‘in contact with the affected residents’ and was currently carrying out investigations on the network and plant.