Irish Water has told Highland Radio News that it has postponed site investigations in Lough Foyle because of concerns that the works might be obstructed.
They say wastewater will be treated to a very high standard in a new treatment plant at Carnagarve, and then discharged 200 metres out into Lough Foyle where it will be further diluted. It was at that point, 200 metres off shore, that the drilling work was ceased.
In a statement, the utility says the drilling, while necessary to finalise the design, is not critical to the project at this stage as it prepares to submit a planning application.
Irish Water say they have put the safety of their contractors' personnel first, and postponed the investigations until a future date.
They say these works will the necessary information to design the new wastewater treatment plant, sewer network and outfall pipe in a way that ensures raw sewage is no longer discharged in the Bredagh River and Lough Foyle.
Irish Water say they will undertake the marine investigation surveys at a later date and hope that the community will work with them. Land based site investigation works are continuing as planned.
The Campaign for a Clean Estuary, which opposes Irish Water's plans for the new treatment
plant, claims the first indication from the local fishing fleet that it would block the work because of its impact on oyster beds was crucial in securing this decision.
Irish Water say they have engaged with the Loughs Agency and the local community, and will continue to keep people updated at each stage of the project.
However, Enda Craig of the Campaign for a Clean Estuary questions that assertion............
Irish Water statement in full -
It is a priority of Irish Water to end the current unacceptable practice of untreated wastewater from Moville being discharged into the Bredagh River and Lough Foyle at five locations. The current discharge of untreated wastewater threatens water quality, pollutes Lough Foyle, the beaches, the coastline, the environment, and detracts from the amenity value of the river and the coastal waters around Moville and environs. Moville is one of the areas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified as having no wastewater treatment and they have classified the Bredagh River as being ‘Seriously Polluted’.
A new wastewater treatment plant and collection system is needed to end this practice. This proposed Irish Water project will treat wastewater to a high standard, and end the discharge of untreated wastewater (the equivalent of 2,800 wheelie bins per day) into Lough Foyle and the Bredagh River. The project will protect local beaches, the Bredagh River and Lough Foyle. The scheme will result in a significant environmental improvement with improved water quality in the Bredagh River, Lough Foyle and at local beaches. All of which will benefit the local community and the tourist industry.
The project will consist of new sewer collection pipes, a new storm tank and pumping station at the river Row, and a new wastewater treatment plant and outfall pipe at Carngarve. The project has been designed so that in the event of very heavy rainfall storm water will collect in the storm tank and overflow via a screened outfall to the Bredagh River. The storm water tank allows solids to settle and the screen filters out any rags ensuring that overflows during storm events are mainly liquid preventing coastal sewage waste as is occurring today. The storm water tank and pumping station design also means that no untreated wastewater will ever be discharged through the new outfall at Carnagarve. Furthermore, it is proposed that wastewater will be treated to a very high standard and will be discharged 200 metres out into Lough Foyle where it will be further diluted. The proposed project will ultimately protect Lough Foyle and safeguard the environment for all to enjoy.
Site investigation works are an essential stage of the project as these works will provide Irish Water with the necessary information to design the new wastewater treatment plant, sewer network and outfall pipe which will ensure raw sewage is no longer discharged in the Bredagh River and Lough Foyle.
Given the location, our site investigation works must source information about the existing marine environment. This is to ensure that the future works in Moville are designed to protect the environment and enable the project to be delivered as quickly as possible. The marine site investigation works, while necessary to finalise the design, are not critical to the project at this stage as we prepare to submit a planning application. Irish Water had concerns that the site investigation works may be obstructed, and as such have put the safety of their contractors personnel first, and postponed the investigations until a future date.
Irish Water will undertake the marine investigation surveys at a later date and hope that the community will work with us so that these essential investigations can be undertaken in a timely manner to ensure the water quality in Lough Foyle is improved for all to enjoy. Land based site investigation works are continuing as planned.
Irish Water have engaged with the local community at every step of this project and will continue to keep them updated at each stage of the project. Similar to all other stakeholders Irish Water is keeping the Loughs Agency informed on the project and the benefits it will bring in terms of improved water quality in Lough Foyle.