The Carrowbeg River has not been damaged following a large oil spill in the town last week, after an oil container located at the old site of Northern Feather, and where the new Lidl store will be located, was ruptured.
At Westport Town Council meeting on Thursday, senior engineer Padraig Walsh explained that the weekend before last, as the contractor who is working on Lidl attempted to move oil tanks, one which partially contained heavy fuel oil was damaged. The contractor tried to deal with the situation, however due to the heavy rain the oil flowed onto public roads and footpaths. On Monday the town council was made aware by the public, not the contractor, of the situation, and immediately the council activated an oil spill plan and an oil spill vehicle was deployed.
The road was sealed off and heavily sanded and the contractor hired a specialist cleaner and consulted Tobin Engineers to oversee the clean up works.
The council has served a warning notice on the developer under planning, water pollution, and waste acts. Mr Walsh said that there is no evidence of an oil spill in the river and the council is monitoring the waste water plant for any oil detection.
Councillor Ollie Gannon condemned the “unprofessionalism” of the contractor to allow the spill to continue three to four days without informing the council. Cllr Martin Keane said that residents in the area should be compensated for damage done to carpets and car wheels and said that the cost should not come back to the council. Cllr Keith Martin concurred that local residents were dismayed and angered at the incident.
The council was commended for its actions, as according to Cllr Brendan Mulroy it acted “superbly” on this occasion and the “actions of the town council saved the river”.
Cathaoirleach of the town council Cllr Tereasa McGuire said that the councillors are behind everything that can be done to clean up the oil.