Cllr Michael Fitzgerald
Golden village has been held back by the lack of a wastewater treatment plant for years, but that long wait may now be coming to an end, according to a local county councillor.
Irish Water has completed a feasibility report for a wastewater treatment plant in Cashel and is moving on to the design stage, said John Fogarty of the council’s water section.
In Tipperary town, a wastewater plant has been granted planning permission to upgrade its efficiency and capacity, and in Cahir, a plant there has been approved for upgrades too, to increase its capacity.
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald put forward a motion: “that this municipal district request the Department of Environment to prioritise a wastewater treatment plant for Golden village. lt would promote industry and further development and improve the many attractions of the River Suir, from a local tourism point of view at this historic location.”
“I can’t emphasise enough how it is stymying the progression of our village,” he said. Houses can’t be built, and several investors for the old creamery site have had to be turned down due to lack of water infrastructure. Every year, the Cashel Golden Tipperary Anglers Association, hosts an event where hundreds of anglers come from all over Ireland to Golden.
But it is “disheartening” to see buoys erected on the river to deter kayakers from entering the area where sewage enters the water near the bridge in Golden. “It’s one of the things that would enhance our village,” added Cllr Fitzgerald.
“I have been at this a long long time, and nothing has happened.” Various Ministers and TDs have made promises but nothing has come to fruition. “We have planning, we have a design, and we have the site bought.”
Cllr Declan Burgess said young families and elderly people are frustrated by the constant outages in the Knockavilla area. “They are looking for answers from Irish Water. What exactly is going on there? Is it that we need significant upgrades? It seems that the outages are happening more regularly, and for a longer time.” Residents find even showering a difficulty.
Cllr Roger Kennedy said the plant in Golden is “badly needed”, and said Dundrum Knockavilla’s outages have increased over the last six months. “Some of them went on for three or four days. One of them was due to a power failure at the Cappawhite water tower, and others were due to burst mains.”
The outages are not being put up on Irish Water’s website, meaning the company is “totally disregarding” the local authority’s representatives. Cllr Kennedy said there was no briefing or any information. “They're trying to keep us in the dark.” What alert system is in place if there is an electrical failure at the intake pipes, asked Cllr Kennedy. “How can we reassure customers of Irish Water that they won’t get untreated water in their taps?”
Cllr Máirín McGrath said she knew of one resident who can’t leave her windows open because the existing treatment plant nearby emits a toxic smell, “like a glorified septic tank”. Some farmers are being hit with “exorbitant” bills, totalling €2,000 or €3,000 more than they should be. “So many of their meters are not working.” Customers get so frustrated that they end up paying the bills, “which is totally wrong. Their bills are insane”.
Mr Fogarty said the outages in Knockavilla are due to power issues at the plant, related to a recent complex modernisation and upgrading. “We’re working very hard with Irish Water to deal with it.”
Tipperary has an automatic shut-down system if there is any issue with chlorine, added Mr Fogarty. “Our staff are available seven days a week.” An online metering system is to be rolled out to Irish Water customers, which should reduce complications in billing.
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