Significant progress has been made this month on providing Clifden with the long-awaited treatment plant upgrade with Galway County Council currently assessing tender documents with the view of appointing a contractor soon, that is according to local county councillor Eileen Mannion who described the works as vital for the local environment as well as for tourism and local economy.
Cllr Mannion made the comments in the wake of the Urban Waste Water Discharges for Ireland report which was recently published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) which showed that nearly half of waste water treatment plants did not meet national and EU standards. The report, the eighth in the series, is the first review of the operation of waste water treatment plants at 529 urban areas since they became subject to a new licensing regime. Among other findings, the report showed that 11 large urban areas do not meet the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD ) requirement to have secondary treatment in place. This included the old plant at Clifden which failed to meet standards and is having an adverse effect on bathing waters. The report went on to state that a requirement was made under the UWWTD to have secondary treatment in place at Clifden in 2005. However, there have been many delays and the estimated completion date is now 2013.
Commenting on the report, Cllr Mannion said this week that it has “resulted in negative publicity for Clifden” but that progress is now being made in bringing about the much needed upgrade of the treatment plant, which will in turn improve bathing water quality.
“It is expected that the tender documents will be issued at the end of February. Galway County Council is assessing the tender documents to upgrade the network at present and will proceed to appoint a contractor to carry out the work. The upgrade of the network and the new treatment plant will imporve the water quality at Clifden Beach, which is very important for tourism and for the local economy,” said Cllr Mannion, who added that Clifden has been looking for a new sewerage treatment plant as far back as 1995 and that in April 2011 Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, announced funding of €7 million to allow the project to go into construction phase.