RESIDENTS of a Belgooly housing estate who live with horrendous smells coming from a waste water treatment plant which they say is ‘not fit for purpose’ – are demanding that it be moved and that a new plant replace it.
However, Irish Water has confirmed that an upgrade of it is not on the cards during its current investment planning process.
As recently as August 17th, contractors for Irish Water, EPS, carried out desludging and reseeding at the waste water treatment plant but within 24 hours, the obnoxious smells were back. It’s something residents in the Riverbank estate have had to put up with for over 18 months now.
Frustrated mum-of-three Bernadette Walsh told The Southern Star that the smell got so bad one recent Tuesday that her youngest child was ‘empty retching’ as he ran into their house after playing on the green.
‘He shouted straight away for me to close the windows and it’s almost like an alarm now that the smell is coming. It still comes into the house even when we do that, but it’s not as bad, although it comes in through the vents too,’ said Bernadette.
‘It’s absolutely disgusting, vile and almost gassy and when it gets extremely bad, I make a complaint immediately to Irish Water.’
Some of the recent hot spells haven’t helped the situation for all those living in Riverbank.
‘We had the windows open on some of those hot nights so we could cool the house down but had to shut them again because of the horrendous smell. We are at breaking point now and some nights either myself or my husband Ciarán would have to stay awake so that we could close the windows immediately if the smell came in.’
Public representatives have all made representations on their behalf at both Dáil and Council level, but the smell still hangs over the estate.
‘Irish Water are out there doing different works on the plant but it’s not making any difference and the temporary fixes aren’t even temporary, because the smell comes back. We’ve almost become immune to certain parts of the smell, but when it reaches a certain level at different parts of the day it’s unbearable.’
Bernadette and her neighbours are adamant that the only answer is to get the waste water treatment plant – which they say is not fit for purpose – moved and have a proper plant constructed.
‘We were originally told when we bought the sites here 16 years ago that it was only a temporary plant that would be there for a couple of years, but nothing has been done since.’
Bernadette said that their only communication with Irish Water is through emails and that they do encourage them to contact them if and when the smells come back.
‘The committee here will be formally requesting Irish Water to come down and meet us here as soon as possible so that they can experience what we do every day. We want them to see how hard it is being down here with that vile smell.’
An Irish Water spokesperson said that they are investigating reports of odours emanating from the plant since the improvement works have been completed.
‘We wish to apologise to those who are experiencing odour issues in the vicinity of the plant and assure them that we are working to address this matter.’
Irish Water also said an upgrade of the Riverbank Estate waste water treatment plant was considered during their investment planning process for both the current (2017-2021) and the next capital investment plan.
‘It has not been included following a process, which prioritised the areas of greatest compliance risk and growth needs. An upgrade will be considered again when planning future investment cycles.’