Fianna Fáil councillor Brenda Mulroy has received confirmation from Irish Water that it will be submitting an application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage this month for a foreshore licence to carry out survey work on Clew Bay in relation to a new sewerage treatment plant for Newport.
This week Cllr Mulroy shared a response he received from Irish Water in relation to queries he had raised over the Newport Sewerage Scheme, which said that: "The scheme is included in Irish Water's investment plan and design works are ongoing with with current efforts concentrating on reviewing locations for the new effluent discharge points.
"To this end Irish Water is preparing to complete an effluent dispersion model of Clew Bay. Irish Water will submit a foreshore licence application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage this month for permission to carry out survey work on the bay.
"This item is a crucial path for the advancement of the project. We understand that due to a backlog of applications that the department is ensuring additional time to process same. Irish Water will liaise with the department with a view to secure the licence as quickly as possible."
At the May meeting of Mayo County Council which took place last week, Cllr Mulroy had suggested that the council should take legal action against Irish Water to have it stop untreated sewerage being discharged into the sea in Newport.
Cllr Mulroy was speaking during a debate on beach by-laws and the effect they could have on blue flag beaches in the county. Cllr Mulroy said that in Newport there was an illusion that sewage was being treated, but it was 'in a holding tank and then released into the sea'.
Responding to Cllr Mulroy, Director of Services for Mayo County Council, John Condon, said that works have been ongoing to try and persuade Irish Water to bring the Newport works forward and in regard to legal action, be it against a body or a person, if it were being considered by the council, they would not be discussing it in public.
Sinn Féin Cllr Gerry Murray speaking at the same the May meeting of the council, said that the local authority could lodge a formal complaint in Europe about waste water treatment plants that are not in compliance and said this is the step the council should take. Cllr Michael Kilcoyne suggested that the council write to the chief executive of the Environmental Protection Agency to point out that sewerage is being discharged into the sea and to ask what actions they propose to take on it.