Tuesday 20 August 2019

Very unsatisfactory that no definitive answer to source of foul odour in town

There was a stink about the place last week.

Last Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday there was an almighty stink around the town with parts of the Dublin Road and south side of the town really choked by the odour.

Bord Gais received several emergency calls from concerned residents and they sent out a number of crews to callouts before they assured residents that the smell was not coming from cracked or leaking pipes in their network.

Roll onto this week and there is no satisfactory explanation for the cause of the foul odour.

Some people have said that it came from chicken manure spread on local fields. A similar event did occur a number of years ago, but those with more finely tuned noses than mine discounted an agricultural or natural source for the smell, with one person comparing the smell to burnt popcorn.

Prior to the weekend and again at the monthly meeting of Louth County Council, Councillor Declan Breathnach claimed that the odour came from the burning of diesel sludge and also stated that the diesel sludge has been mixed with chicken manure and spread on fields.

However the councillor produced no evidence for his assertion and it went unchallenged by officials from Louth County Council.

There is no smoke with fire, but equally there is no fire without smoke and there were no reports of large fires or palls of smoke around the town last week. Surely if diesel sludge was being burned last week, even under the cover of darkness some concerned member of the public would have alerted the Fire Service or people would have noticed the smoke.

Also diesel is not the most combustible material, certainly it is not as flammable as petrol.

Perhaps the foul odour did come from diesel sludge or that and a combination of it and chicken manure but the fact is we do not know.

Members of the public were concerned that the odour could contain gases which could cause health problems.

Whatever the source of the odour it is very disappointing and unsatisfactory that authorities, be it the local authority or the Environmental Protection Agency could not issue a definitive statement putting the public's mind to rest on the matter.

Irish Independent