herald

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Sewage plant project will wipe out fish spawning grounds, objectors warn

Portmarnock Beach
Portmarnock Beach

Campaigners objecting to Irish Water's proposal for a new sewage plant in Dublin have claimed the facility could lead to the death of all sea life in the area.

Fresh water coming from a plant 4km from Velvet Strand, Portmarnock, and 1km from Ireland's Eye is enough to "wipe out" the fish spawning grounds, environmentalist and swimmer Cathy McMahon said.

destroy

Irish Water's Greater Dublin Drainage Project, which is currently being reviewed by An Bord Pleanala, intends to treat sewage from Kildare, Meath and South Dublin to take pressure off its Ringsend plant by building a facility adjacent to Clonshaugh.

Under the proposal, Irish Water planned to install a pipeline across Baldoyle Bay to Ireland's Eye, where the waste would be pumped into the bay.

A 1,300-metre section would also be located and terminate in the Rockabill to Dalkey Island Special Area of Conservation.

However, Ms McMahon said the area was like a fish nursery.

"The fish hatch eggs and stay there. The dispersal unit is going to destroy that habitat," she said. "Without even considering the bacteria or chemicals that could be in the water, fresh water alone will wipe out the fish. It will become a dead sea."

Ms McMahon had concerns over how the facility will impact the livelihoods of fishermen, adding that she feels consumers will turn away from buying fish sourced anywhere near a sewage plant.

Locals have expressed concerns that the new facility will be "another Ringsend".

Philip Swan, of Portmarnock, said: "It's time for the Government to implement sustainable solutions instead of continually deferring to unworkable and outdated technologies.

Ringsend wastewater plant
Ringsend wastewater plant

"Irish Water is trying to build a new plant off Portmarnock beach and Ireland's Eye that's based on a report that is 14 years old. It should be halted before it's too late. Portmarnock must not be another Ringsend."

A spokesperson for Irish Water said a second plant was "vital to protecting public health, safeguarding the environment and facilitating the social and economic growth of the Greater Dublin Area".

Impacts

"As part of this planning app- lication, extensive research was undertaken to assess all potential impacts of the project on the environment," the spokesperson said.

"This confirmed the project will not have a perceptible impact on the water quality of the coastal waters off Dublin and will not negatively impact any local bathing waters.

"The level to which the wastewater will be treated will ensure that water quality standards required by EU and national regulations are achieved."

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