Irish Water is being urged to halt all other planned projects in Clare and sort out ongoing odour issues at a Meelick housing estate once and for all.
Residents in Ballycannon Heights have been dealing with persistent issues for years now and this week, some say they have been vomiting because the smell has been so bad.
Despite assurances about a long-term solution from Irish Water, locals there say this isn’t good enough.
Ballycannon Heights was built in 1982, with the 62 homes being catered for by a wastewater treatment plant which residents say was only ever promised to be a temporary solution.
Some 37 years later, that plant is still in place – and is a regular issue of concern for those living there.
Multiple times a year, they say, obnoxious odours seep out of the plant, resulting in severe headaches and vomiting.
This week, the smell returned and now, those living in Ballycannon Heights say they’re at their wits’ end.
Majella Sheehan has lived there since 1983 and raised her family there but says every time the problem crops up, they can’t even open their windows.
Irish Water says it has carried out chemical treatment, desludging and reseeding at the plant in order to resolve any odour issues this week.
Their statement goes on to say they will continue to monitor the situation, while apologising to residents.
But for some, that apology doesn’t go far enough.
Padraig O’Brien says it feels like they’re banging their heads against a brick wall.
Mayor of Clare Cathal Crowe is a Meelick native and says throughout his lifetime, he has been aware of issues at Ballycannon Heights.
He raised the issue the last time it cropped up, back in February, and received reassurances that a long term solution is two years away.
He, too, says that’s not good enough.
Irish Water statement
Irish Water received reports of odours from the Ballycannon Wastewater treatment plant in recent days. On foot of these reports, Clare County Council staff working on behalf of Irish Water have carried out chemical treatment, desludging and reseeding at the plant in order to resolve any odour issues.
We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the treatment process is operating effectively.
Irish Water would like to apologise to residents in the area for any inconvenience caused as a result of this issue.
As a longer term solution the Ballycannon Wastewater Treatment Plant has been selected by Irish Water to be included in a pilot programme to examine and address historical issues with smaller wastewater treatment plants around the country.
As part of this programme, a project team has been appointed to assess the condition and performance of the plant and work has begun on identifying any upgrade works required.
The design for the upgrades works is currently progressing, and once this is finalised the contract will be issued for tender.
In allocating funding for capital investment, IrishWater must prioritise investment decisions to ensure that it utilises available funding most effectively by making investments that deliver the biggest environmental and social benefits while maximising value-for-money.