Displaying items by tag: Wastewater
The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School (INSS) has expressed its frustration over the second discharge this month of wastewater into Dublin Bay, which has seen new bathing bans issued at several popular swimming spots in the capital.
While the latest notice does not apply to the waters inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the INSS says it has still had to activate its ‘unclean water procedure’ as Salthill beach, from where it usually operates, and other locations woke up to an ‘orange slick’ on the shoreline this morning (Tuesday 25 June). This slick has since been confirmed by the local authority as an algal bloom "not directly associated" with the wastewater overflow.
The procedure involves alterations to activities, use of small keelboats instead of dinghies if appropriate, and stringent instructor supervision to ensure people are on rather than in the water.
While afloat, all safety boats must carry hand-sanitising wipes, and children must regularly wash their hands. Shore side, extensive hand-washing, sanitising gels and a focus on good hygiene practises minimises the risk as much as possible.
“On this occasion, we have been relatively lucky to still be able to operate within the harbour,” said Glyn Williams, the school’s communications and marketing manager.
“However, it’s not good enough that we find out about this later in the day,” he added, referring to the initial reports of the latest bathing ban last night. “The treatment plant operator knew they were discharging. Why not tell everyone straight away?”
Chief instructor Kenneth Rumball also noted that the summer sailing season for children is only 12 weeks long, and with the current water notices lasting until at least this Thursday “we now have six days of a short summer lost to this”.
Responding to Irish Water’s claim that the latest overflow ‘happened as it should have happened’, the school said this cuts little ice with the parents of children attending the its courses.
“Parents are equally as exasperated as we are. While all those we spoke with earlier this morning are understanding, they equally feel that Irish Water/the treatment plant operator should get this solved more quickly than they are currently doing.”
Following similar calls by the likes of Green Party Councillor Ossian Smyth, the INSS is urging those with responsibility to immediately progress upgrades for the sewage system at Ringsend Treatment Plant to cope with heavy rainfall — something Irish Water says would require a “huge amount” of investment.
The school also calls for more transparent communication, in real time, if and when discharges are occurring, coupled with pre-emptive warnings and same-day water sampling results.
Commenting on how these water quality issues affect the development of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a marine leisure destination, Glyn Williams said: “We have to make sure that we get the basics in place before we undertake large scale plans.
“There’s no point in expending time and money when the most basic requirement for water sports is not in place: safe water to operate in.”
Heavy rains in recent days have led to another wastewater overflow at the Ringsend treatment plant, as well as other pumping stations, that has prompted a new swimming ban at several Dublin Bay beaches.
It marks the second time this month that bathing has been prohibited at Dollymount Strand, Seapoint, Sandycove and the Forty Foot at Sandycove.
Both Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councils say their bans will remain in place pending test for water quality, the first results of which are due on Thursday — in a week where Met Éireann forecasts higher temperatures.
While the bans do not affect Dun Laoghaire Harbour or other beaches in either council area, organisers of water-based sporting events have been advised to take note, as The Irish Times reports.
Notices will be put up on beaches today, Tuesday 25 June, according to RTÉ News.
Update 4.30pm: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council says tests on an ‘orange slick’ at Sandycove Beach confirm the presence of Noctiluca scintillans, a form of algae, and not raw sewage.
In a statement, the council said the non-toxic species is “a natural summer phenomenon in response to long day length, high nutrients and warm water” and is “not directly associated with the waste water overflows associated with the temporary bathing prohibition”.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted Irish Water for two separate pollution incidents which occurred in Cavan last summer.
On Thursday 6 June, Judge McLoughlin twice convicted Irish Water at Cavan District Court under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for allowing harmful substances to enter the water on two occasions in June last year.
Over 600 fish were killed as a result of one pollution incident while an important habitat for spawning and young fish was damaged as a result of the other.
The court heard evidence from fisheries inspector Cormac Goulding that on 19 June 2018, staff from IFI noticed that the river downstream of the Ballinagh Treatment Plant in Cavan was in very poor condition.
The water was cloudy and the river was covered in sewage fungus and algal growth.
Following an investigation, it was discovered that untreated sewage was being discharged from the water treatment plant and at the pumping station further downstream.
Irish Water issued a report to IFI in response to the prosecution which revealed that their computerised monitoring system had been offline for six days, which meant that no alerts had been received about the problem.
The effluent was being discharged into aquatic habitat suitable for spawning or young trout.
Judge McLoughlin fined Irish Water €3,000 and total costs of €4,679 were awarded to IFI.
A separate pollution incident occurred a few days later on 25 June 2018 in Cavan Town River.
Judge McLoughlin heard evidence from Ailish Keane, senior environmental fisheries officer at IFI, about how the pollution incident resulted in the death of hundreds of fish including 687 native brown trout.
An investigation found that the fish kill was caused by the release of sewage effluent into the river from an overflow culvert located under Farnham Street Bridge.
Irish Water were again convicted and fined €4,000 plus costs of €4,346.
Milton Matthews, director of the North Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “In both cases in Cavan, harmful material was discharged into local rivers and in Cavan town this resulted in a large kill of over 600 native brown trout, of all age classes.
“As it can take years for a waterbody to recover to its former condition following pollution incidents, it is crucial that robust management systems are in place to prevent avoidable incidents which can have a serious impact on our wild fish and their natural habitat.
“The restoration of the aquatic habitat and the maintenance of water quality is vital if we are to enable wild fish populations to recover naturally.
“We are working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Cavan and across the country.”
The string of bathing spots includes the enduringly popular Forty Foot in Sandycove.
Moreover, Sandymount and Merrion just south of Ringsend — where the wastewater plant was in the news earlier this year over a discharge in the Liffey — have been landed with a swimming ban for the entire 2019 bathing season due to their overall poor water quality.
RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.
Almost 30 sewage schemes across Ireland fall short of EU directives on wastewater treatment, as The Green News reports.
The European Court of Justice ruling from this past Thursday 28 March now means Ireland could be liable to significant fines if the problem schemes are not addressed.
Sensitive areas in Killarney, Longford, Dundalk and Tralee, among others, were also affected by untreated wastewater discharges for which the State has been reprimanded by European judges.
In addition, the State as found guilty of failing to provide for secondary treatment at a number of problem sites including Cobh in Cork Harbour, the fishing harbours of Arklow and Killybegs, and Ringsend in Dublin — the latter of which was the scene of a discharge of ‘activated sludge’ only a month ago.
The Department of Housing and Local Government says it has provided Irish Water “with the necessary resources to both tackle the deficiencies identified by the [ECJ] as well as providing the infrastructure which will underpin the future sustainable development of our country.”
Part of the State’s defence in this case were occasions of ‘unusually heavy rainfall’ that overwhelmed the country’s wastewater management systems.
Such conditions are also linked to the leeching of nitrates and phosphates from agricultural sites causing seaweed blooms in coastal areas, as highlighted by a recent academic report.
The news also comes after oral hearings began into a long-planned €500 million wastewater treatment scheme for North Dublin that faces strong local oppositions.
The Green News has more on the story HERE.
Planners are from today set to review proposals for a controversial €500 million wastewater treatment scheme in North Dublin, as The Irish Times reports.
Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport was chosen in June 2013 as the site for the sewage ‘super plant’ before Irish Water took over the Greater Dublin Drainage project from Fingal County Council last year.
The new plant — second only to the Ringsend wastewater facility in scope — would be connected to a new orbital sewer to Blanchardstown, and an outfall pipe to eject treated wastewater in the sea north of Ireland’s Eye.
Plans for the new sewage processing plant have faced strong local opposition, both from residents adjacent to the Clonshaugh site and connected works and marine professionals concerned about potential environmental risks.
Last October, Howth-based ferryman Ken Doyle expressed his fears of the knock-on effect on fish stocks from any accidental contamination of the local waters from the outfall pipe.
The planning hearing began at The Gresham hotel in Dublin this morning, and The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
As RTÉ News reports, failure of a processing tank at the locally controversial site led to the overflow, which Irish Water confirmed was from an outfall 1km from the plant in the Lower Liffey Estuary in Dublin Bay, around 9am on Saturday (23 February).
Irish Water says the discharge of ‘activated sludge’ — which “does not pose the same risk to public health or the environment as a raw sewage discharge would” — lasted for around 20 minutes.
But drone images captured on Saturday evening showed the persistence and extent of the pollution incident beside the Great South Wall.
The Ringsend wastewater treatment plant is reportedly running at 20% above capacity as it treats two-fifths of all wastewater in Ireland.
As such, its standard discharge “does not comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment requirements”, according to an Irish Water statement which also confirmed that the EPA conducted an audit of the affected site yesterday (Tuesday 26 February).
Ken Doyle of Ireland’s Eye Ferries tells Dublin Live that any accidental contamination of the waters from the pipeline, from Clonshaugh to a mile off the small island immediately north of Howth, could have a disastrous knock-on effect on fish stocks — an issue both for sea anglers and local bird and seal colonies.
Five years ago, Clonshaugh in North Co Dublin was chosen as the location for the capital’s wastewater treatment ‘super plant’.
The scheme will connect a 26km orbital sewer through counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath with an outfall pipeline ejecting waste off Ireland’s Eye.
Doyle noted that when the outflow of raw sewage at Howth Head was ended with the opening of the Ringsend treatment plant, improvements in water quality meant “the bird population increased hugely and it’s all positive but I wouldn’t like it to go back to like it was.”
He adds that he is not opposed to the wastewater scheme in principle — only that he and other local residents and businesses want assurances that the plant will not have any negative impact on the environment.
At a sitting of Clonakilty District Court on Tuesday 18 October, Keohane Readymix Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Sections 171(1) and 173(1)(c) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959. The company were ordered to pay over €10,000 by Judge James McNulty.
The court heard how a breach in a settlement pond at a sand and gravel washing site on Wednesday 9 March caused a significant overflow of wastewater carrying suspended solids into the Argideen River. IFI officers investigated the incident and identified the source of the pollution.
Judge McNulty imposed a fine of €2,500 in respect of the first count to Keohane Readymix and awarded costs and legal expenses of €2,598 to IFI.
In relation to the charge under Section 173(1)(c), the defendant agreed to Judge Mc Nulty’s suggestion of a €5,000 contribution to the Court Charity Fund.
Sean Long, director of the South West River Basin District at IFI, said: “We would urge landowners and businesses to remain vigilant and to employ robust management systems to prevent avoidable incidents which can have a serious impact on our wild fish and their natural habitat.
“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Cork and across the country.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the public to report incidents at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.
At a sitting of Cavan District Court on 21st April 2016, Judge Denis McLaughlin convicted Irish Water in relation to a pollution incident arising from the wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh, Co. Cavan.
Senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) gave evidence that she had written to Irish Water on several occasions prior to the incident about failings at the treatment plant, but the company had not acted. On 20th June 2015, IFI staff noticed effluent entering the Ballinagh River and Ms Keane attended the scene and took samples. The samples showed very serious pollution of the river coming from the treatment plant, with levels of some pollutants almost 600 times higher than upstream.
In particular, the level of ammonia observed downstream was 17.9 milligrams per litre – 597 times the level of 0.03 milligrams per litre measured upstream, a level recognised as clean salmonid water. The level of suspended solids was 122 milligrams per litre, approximately 3.5 times higher than the plant’s allowed emission limit. The biological oxygen demand, a measure of bacterial growth in the water, was measured at 223.8 milligrams per litre downstream which is 45 times higher than what is expected in clean unpolluted water, and over 100 times higher than the level of two milligrams per litre observed upstream.
Judge Denis McLaughlin refused to consider a plea by defence counsel to consider a donation to charity, insisting that the delay in rectifying the issue by Irish Water, and the serious level of pollution, merited a conviction. He convicted and fined the company €2,500 in addition to costs amounting to €3,917.43.
Commenting on the case, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Protection of fish stocks and water quality is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers alike. Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to protecting the most vital component of good habitat to fish – high water quality. Our staff will continue to monitor and enforce water quality legislation in order to maintain healthy fish stocks.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.