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  • Southside

Dublin Bay pollution problem debated

Wednesday, 31st July, 2019 8:00am
Dublin Bay pollution problem debated
Dublin Bay pollution problem debated

IRISH Water has said they were pleased to have the opportunity to engage with Dublin City Councillors on the operation of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant storm water overflow system.

The water utility body was responding following a special meeting last week called by Green Party councillors in City Hall to discuss what they described as the increasingly frequent sewage contamination of Dublin bathing waters from the plant.

The meeting itself was held after an emergency motion tabled by Green Party councillors Claire Byrne and Donna Cooney at the July 1 gathering of Dublin City Council.

Cllr Claire Byrne (GP) who represents the South East Inner City, said: "We know that our waste treatment plant is no longer fit for purpose after decades of under-funding and neglect. 

“While upgrade works are taking place, we still need more urgent investment to bring the facilities to a standard that can cope with our growing population. In the meantime, though, we need better, more frequent water quality testing with real time information and effective communications from Irish Water so that people know what is going on.

"It is really not good enough, especially during this fine weather, that citizens can't enjoy our beaches and swim in our waters,” Cllr Byrne added. “We talk about Water Animation Strategies on the council, but the reality is we don't have the water quality to support such activity. Hopefully this meeting with Irish Water will bring some solutions so we can protect Dublin Bay as a natural amenity for everyone to enjoy."

Dun Laoghaire Cllr Ossian Smyth, who is also a sea swimmer, organised a meeting last week with the Water Institute in DCU and a number of Green Party councillors to discuss various technologies that can speed up water testing and help improve public information and ultimately lead to cleaner water.

“Green Party councillors will work together to find solutions to sewage contamination so that we can protect our amenity,” Cllr Smyth said. “With the holiday season upon us we want Dubliners and visitors to be able to enjoy our beaches.”

Following the meeting, a spokesperson for Irish Water said the Ringsend storm water overflows are designed and operated in line with international best practice to safeguard public health and prevent the sewer network from backing up and causing flooding of roads and properties during heavy rainfall.

“The overflow contains wastewater that is highly diluted with rainwater and has been screened and settled to remove debris – a form of primary treatment,” the spokesperson said. “Irish Water notifies local authorities and the EPA of any incidents or overflow that occur at the plant that could impact the receiving waters.

“The local authority collects information on bathing water quality on a regular basis and, in consultation with the HSE, provides information and guidance on using bathing waters and about any prohibitions. 

“Irish Water also outlined it plans for the upgrade of the Ringsend plant. Irish Water is investing over €400 million in the staged upgrading of Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

The spokesperson added: “This investment will allow the plant to treat the increasing volumes of wastewater to the required standard and capacity. This project will enable future housing and commercial development and ensure that Dublin is able to sustain continued growth.”

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