New Staleen pipe does not cater for the future
Sinn Féin Councillors Kenneth Flood and Joanna Byrne accompanied Imelda Munster TD to take a tour of the construction site of the Staleen Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Project - but left with more questions than answers about the future water capacity for the town and surrounds.
The new pipeline will help to ensure the delivery of a safe, secure and reliable water supply to Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath. Once complete, the old pipeline which has experienced two significant bursts in the past year can be decommissioned. The new treatment plant will ensure that the water supply is removed from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Remedial Action List (RAL) for exceedances of THMs (trihalomethanes).
However, during a Q&A session following a briefing from Irish Water Management, in answer to the Sinn Féin team's questions it was revealed that although the project will bring the outdated infrastructure up to modern standards and will immensely improve the quality of the water delivered, the plant itself will not be fit for purpose to supply the increasing demand that will be expected of it by then.
The plant currently exports 30,000 sq cubes of water per day, 1,250 per hr, and it was confirmed to the SF team that the new pipeline will not export much more than that.
'With 5,000 houses planned for construction in the Northern Environs area of Drogheda alone, leading to a population increase of approximately 15,000 people it is obvious that the water demand will dramatically increase in that area alone in years to come, let alone expansion in any other area added to that. The question has to be asked as to why, when Irish Water planned this project, none of this was taken into consideration? Will the lack of water supply stop the growth of Drogheda?,' a statement remarked.
'We will be raising this at forthcoming council meetings and with central government. The council, as the local planning authority, have a responsibility to ensure the infrastructure is in place to serve the houses that they have granted planning permission for. Also, if Drogheda is to attract Foreign Direct Investment, especially anything in the manufacturing sector, including pharmaceuticals, Drogheda must be able to ensure that we can deliver the massive water supply that such industries need.
'The new pipeline cannot be the end of the water infrastructure investment in Drogheda. The government must commit to a water delivery plan to ensure Drogheda can fulfil its potential and become this states next City."