independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

Incident increases sewage plant fears

Published 04/09/2012 | 18:16

THE RECLAIM Fingal Alliance set up to oppose the siting of a giant regional sewage plant in Fingal has said the latest sewage overflows that closed Balbriggan beach has increased fears that a similar failing at the planned plant could devastate the east coast.

Revelations that human waste was discharged from a faulty pumping station for up to 26 hours into the Irish Sea, and was not noticed until sewage was washed up on a beach, shows engineers and equipment cannot be trusted to stop an environmental disaster, the local campaign group has claimed.

Brian Hosford, chair of Reclaim Fingal Alliance said that the malfunction at Isaac's Bower pumping station in Balbriggan highlights the problems with unreliable technology. 'If a monster sewage plant were built and a disaster like this happened the consequences for the entire east coast would be catastrophic,' Mr Hosford said. He added: 'While this may be manageable within a few days, a spill from a monster sewage plant has the ability to destroy the economy of Fingal, as well as its leisure and tourism sectors.'

'Fingal Council Council has admitted the pumping station was out for just over 26 hours and its alarm did not activate because of power failures. 'Balbriggan beach is closed to bathers, while people in Skerries and surrounding areas are still waiting for test results to see if their beaches were polluted.' The local campaigner said: 'How can we trust the same council, and Greater Dublin Drainage, to build a super sewage plant in the area that will treat waste from 700,000 People Equivalent (PE) across Dublin and parts of Meath and Kildare? 'A malfunction at a similar-sized plant near Edinburgh in 2007 resulted in more than 120 million litres of untreated effluent being discharged into the Firth of Forth estuary when a pump failed at the city's main sewage plant.' He added:

'We believe a monster plant will have a detrimental effect on communities, the farming, horticulture and fishing sectors, and destroy an environmentally sensitive coastline, which has several areas of special protection. 'Reclaim Fingal Alliance is against a single large treatment plant anywhere in Fingal, instead favouring the concept of smaller, locally-based sewage treatment like Portrane.

'We are again calling for a full cost benefit analysis as part a new Strategic Environmental Assessment to examine population changes, the state's of the country's finances, and the economic and social consequences of a potential environmental disaster.'

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