Local authority officials have moved to play down environmental concerns in a north Longford river despite revealing treated effluent is seeping into it.
The announcement was made earlier this week in relation to a stretch of water, known locally as the Black River, which runs close to the north Longford village of Drumlish.
Local man, Jimmy Higgins was the first to raise the alarm by sending in a series of photographs to the Leader in recent days.
“The smell would knock you down it’s that strong,” argued an evidently frustrated Mr Higgins.
“It’s a disgrace what’s going on. They (Council) are talking about bringing in water charges and you have the likes of this going on.”
Mr Higgins said he even contacted regional fisheries board executives only to be told the river had been tested twice over the past six weeks, returning readings that were subsequently given the all-clear.
In reply, council chiefs admitted diluted strands of effluent had been discharged into the river, something the council said was likely to continue until later this month while work on updating local infrastructural projects continues.
“Longford County Council is currently constructing a new Waste Water Treatment Plant in Drumlish at a cost of €1.3 million to replace the existing treatment plant,” the council said in a statement.
“The old treatment plant remains in operation until the new plant is commissioned.
“As part of the new plant construction, a new 1.5 km outfall pipe was installed to the Black River.
“In the transition arrangement the treated effluent from the old works is temporarily discharging through the new pipe. This discharge from the old plant will cease as soon as the new plant is commissioned.”
The purpose of the new plant, the Council said, centres on plans to improve the capacity and quality of waste water treatment demands in and around Drumlish.
They also dumbed down fears of a risk to local fish stocks, claiming talks had taken place with fishery experts to eliminiate the possibility of any risks.
“Over the last few months Longford County Council has been working with The Inland Fisheries Board to improve the fish habitat in the area,” the statement continued.
The new Drumlish Plant is part of five new waste water treatment plants across the county, in a move likely to cost in excess of €7 million to construct.