Duncannon businesses sickened by plant delay
A PROMINENT Duncannon businessman has described the announcement by Irish Water that works will not commence on a waste water treatment plant in the Duncannon area for several years as damaging to the community.
As far back as 2003 residents were informed that a solution was in sight to the sewage problem, but the plant has been delayed time after time.
Niall Roche of Hooked Kite Surfing said the treatment plant was supposed to be built in 2009 but is now unlikely to be operational until 2021.
Sewage is being pumped into the sea just off Duncannon habrour near the beach where tens of thousands of people visit every year.
Speaking on the Sean O’Rourke show, Niall said: ‘People have been burying their heads in the sand (about this).’
He recalled jumping off the pier and swimming in the water with friends in his childhood, a joy deprived children in the village today.
‘It’s too dirty. At low tide it’s a very narrow channel and it comes back on the beach which is closed a couple of times during the season.’
He said Arthurstown and Ballyhack are also affected.
Mr Roche said the beach is kept quite clean but local business is suffering.
Phillip Wallace of Duncannon Holiday Park said his business is also affected.
‘Last summer I was turning away dozens of customers every day, that’s up to 120 families a week. We have more space (to expand) but we were told there is no point applying for it until a treatment plant goes into Duncannon. We are just at a standstill here. We pay for the inflow and the outflow so effectively local businesses are paying for the sewage to be pumped into the sea which is hampering our business.’
AN Environment Protection Agency (EPA) report has highlighted the need for significant funding in waste water treatment plants for Duncannon, as well as Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Kilmore Quay.
The report found that treatment is inadequate in many areas and that untreated sewerage is being discharged in waters off the four villages. Irish Water has appointed engineering service providers to undertake detailed design, planning and procurement services of the wastewater infrastructure requirements for these areas. ‘ These projects will not only bring benefits in terms of compliance but will also ensure that there is an adequate treatment of wastewater, for now and into the future, as well as protecting the environment. It is envisaged that planning, design and construction will take approximately three to four years and will be undertaken between 2017 and 2021.’
Irish Water said it will to engage with the local community over the course of each projects development.
A local businesswoman said: ‘Shocking that this is being put on the back burner yet again! As a community we need to kick up a ruckus. We are fed up of these empty promises. It’s going to impact businesses, employment, nevermind the local community’s enjoyment of the area!’
Niall Roche of Hooked Kite Surfing said the treatment plant was supposed to be built in 2009 but is now unlikely to be operational until 2021