Wexfordman Ger Lawlor has raised questions about a recent announcement by Irish Water that it is to survey the sewer network in Wexford town for the first time as it is in poor condition due to long term neglect.
Mr. Lawlor, a photographer and organist in Bride Street Church and a former chairman of Wexford Festival Opera, has confessed to being confused about the latest news since Wexford spent up to €80 million on a massive main drainage scheme in the years between 1995 and 2009, including the quayfront extension.
He said everyone above a certain age will remember the term 'Sorry, but it'll be worth it' which appeared on posters and re-direction signs alongside a cartoon goose with a jack hammer, in a PR campaign devised by the late public relations consultation Barbara Wallace, to allievate the misery inflicted on everyone during the protracted construction of the Wexford Town Main Drainage Scheme.
'This scheme, as I recall, was put in to replace the old box sewer system and to provide modern drainage and wastewater treatment. It was reported to the Corporation at the time as being 'to the highest standards of the European Community'.
'Readers may recall the cartoon goose who directed us as we endeavoured to avoid the trenches as part of our muddled and not so merry expeditions around the town', he said.
The town was dug up for several years during the construction work, causing major disruption to shopowners, residents and tourists.
'So, it was with some trepidation that I read that Irish Water have informed the Council that 'much of the sewer network is in poor condition, due to its age and decades of under-investment'.
'It was also reported that much of the network is not mapped and that this is the first time that much of it has been surveyed.
Mr. Lawlor said a quick internet search shows that the main drainage project undertaken by TJ O'Connor and Associates, which was finally completed in 2009, provided 25 kilometres of sewer pipes ranging in size from 225mm to 1800mm in the town centre and environs, along with 10kilometres of water mains from 100mm to 150mm, 15 kilometres of ducting from 50mm to 150mm for underground services and three new pumping stations at Trinity Street, Carcur and Distillery Road,, storm water pumping facilities to alleviate flooding of the low lying quay extension, an interceptor sewer and a wastewater treatment plant in Kerlogue which was designed to cater for a population of 30,000.
Work on the scheme began in the 1990's, to relieve flooding in areas such as King Street, to improve water quality in Wexford Harbour by ending the discharge of raw sewage and facilitate the revitalisation of the town.
The scheme also included replacement berthing for the commercial fishing fleet and the new quayfront extension.
'I'm curious as to what has changed. Will the goose be making a comeback. Hopefully not', he said.
A resident in Trinity Street which is one of the areas earmarked by Irish Water for water pipe replacement works. said local householders were 'petrified' to receive a survey notice through their letter boxes informing them that lead was detected in the service pipes connecting their properties to the public water mains.