Environmental concerns over sewage leaks in town

Cllr Michael Connellan.

Cllr Michael Connellan.

A serious sewage leak in one of Co Longford’s busiest commercial estates could present major environmental problems unless it is swiftly dealt with, it emerged this week.

Cllr Michael Connellan said a spillage towards the rear of Longford town’s Templemichael Industrial Estate could throw up far-reaching ecological issues given its close proximity to the Camlin River.

The Fianna Fail politician, who claims to have received several phonecalls over the issue, also hit out at local authority officials’ response to the discharge.

In a statement to the Leader, the council denied the leak had affected water quality, despite photographs appearing to show raw sewage being just yards from the banks of the Camlin River.

Responding to those assurances, Cllr Connellan dismissed those claims, saying serious question marks still needed to be addressed by the council’s environmental department.

“I am disappointed with the response from the County Council,” said the Longford town solicitor. “It is important to ascertain when the leak was reported to the County Council and how long it took the Council to be proactive and clean the spillage. To my mind, the leak certainly caused damage to the ecological system and the fish life in the Camlin River, which runs adjacent to the spillage location, and certainly posed a health risk considering its close proximity to the covated Mall Complex.”

Cllr Connellan, who brought the Leader to visit the scene of the spillage in recent days, also raised doubts about how seriously the matter had been taken by the council when dealing with its subsequent clean up.

“You can visually see people walking along the Mall Complex where the spillage occurred and they are oblivious to the raw sewage that’s nearby. From when the leakage on the Ballinalee Road was reported to the Inland Fisheries Board it took the council approximately a week to clear the sewage leak. Such a delay is simply not good enough,” he added.

It’s understood representatives from the Inland Fisheries Board attended the scene before notifying the council. A spokesperson said the matter had now been handed over to the local authority who were dealing with the issue.

A statement, meanwhile from Longford County Council, denied any lasting environmental threat, but advised members of the public to refrain from entering the area whilst the clean up operation is underway.

“The sewage discharge that occurred does not pose any threat to the safety of drinking water supplies,” it stated in an email to this newspaper this week. “Any effluent that may have entered the Camlin River is likely to have been very much diluted by the heavy rainfall and subsequent high flows in the past few days.

“The cleanup operation underway will minimise the likelihood of any serious impact on the Camlin water quality. As a precaution, children and pets should not be allowed to enter areas where sewage spillages have occurred for at least the next two weeks.”


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