Results of tests carried out on sewerage that was spread on land in Lismacaffrey last month are due this week.
Residents in the area gathered the material themselves and sent it for analysis to a lab in Oldcastle, Co Meath after they claimed that raw sewage was being used to fertilise hundreds of acres of local land along the Longford-Westmeath border.
Locals also claimed that Longford Co Council, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Irish Water ignored their initial concerns over a situation that left a number of local children ill, and confined older people indoors for a number of days.
“We sent the samples to Oldcastle and we are expecting results this week,” Helen Donnelly, chairperson of a new committee to address the matter, added. “A representative from the EPA was in the area last week and there is still an odour in the locality.”
Last month, tractor loads of sludge from a nearby storage facility in Abbeylara began arriving at various sites in Lismacaffrey. Residents claimed that the smell was so “obnoxious”, it was impacting negatively on the health of locals. A committee was subsequently established in an effort to deal with the matter.
“Since we last spoke to the media, we have received an apology from Irish Water,” Ms Donnelly continued. “While there is still an odour in the area, it is nowhere near as bad as it was before. We just want to ensure that this never happens again. It is totally unacceptable that something like this would happen in a community in the first instance.”
In a statement, Longford Co Council said it had inspected the area and everything was above board.
“The council inspected the farm and all the activities carried out were fully compliant with the requirements of the Council, EPA, Department of Agriculture, and Department of the Environment,” a spokesperson added. “No pollution or environmental harm of any kind has been caused.”