herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Families' fury at threat of untreated waste in the bay

PEOPLE in the picturesque seaside village of Skerries were appalled after a threat to pour raw sewage into the bay.

A last minute intervention reversed the move but residents are concerned it could happen again in the future.

In a move slammed by locals and environmentalists, the Electricity Supply Board planned to cut power to the town's water treatment plant raising fears that contaminated fluids would have to be released.

Worried locals who had worked tirelessly to secure a Green Coast award for environmental improvements on the South Beach in Skerries were fearful that all their good work would have been for nothing.

They are now criticising Fingal County Council for having no Plan B in the event of problems at the plant.

On Tuesday a notice went out warning swimmers not to go into the water.

They were told that planned works by the electricity company could cause the waste water treatment plant to shut down. If this were to happen it would result in sewage being pumped into the South Beach.

Skerries Community Association warned: "We have been informed by FCC, that due to ESB work tomorrow, June 21, the pumping station at the Rugby Club, which pumps untreated waste water to the treatment plant will not have power to operate.

"It is likely therefore that untreated waste water will be discharged to the South Beach.



lobbying

"As such it is not advisable to swim on the South Beach, Springers or Captains tomorrow as the water may be polluted."

After sustained lobbying by local groups the danger was averted when the ESB and Fingal County Council bowed to pressure and agreed to work around the sewage plant.

The power company offered assurances that it would maintain enough power supply to keep the plant operational.

Both Fingal County Council and the ESB declined to comment to the Herald.

A local source said: "We got a result. Common sense has prevailed. The bigger question is that Fingal County Council need a plan B, why they don't they have a generator?

"The size of the generator they would need is huge, but from an engineering point of view, there should be a plan B."

Without electricity the treatment facility reverts to its failsafe and starts allowing untreated waste water flow out to sea. Many residents of the tourist town were completely unaware of the potential environmental risk associated with the ESB improvement works which have been going on in Skerries over recent weeks.

The source added: "All raw sewage from Skerries is pumped to the plant for treatment.

"If it loses power there is a mechanism to release the untreated waste into the sea.

"It is a safety mechanism so that sewage doesn't back up people's houses but obviously we want to keep the beach in good shape too."

hnews@herald.ie

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