Calls for further surface water investigation

Westmeath County Council's catchment management system has identified the need for further investigative monitoring at some surface water sites throughout the county, Mullingar town councillors were informed last week.

Officials responded to a question by Cllr Ruth Illingworth regarding whether the local authority was satisfied with the water quality of Westmeath's lakes and rivers. The councillor was informed that while the river water quality in Westmeath has not changed over the past decade, the council is endeavouring at all times to improve the water quality in the rivers and lakes.

Speaking at the Mullingar Town Council meeting, officials commented that work has commenced on the upgrading of the Mullingar Sewerage Treatment Plant and Network at a cost of approximately €50 million. Councillors heard that the completion of this contract will have a significant impact on the quality of some of the surface water sources. In addition, the Environment Section of the council will continue its programme of investigative monitoring and surveying of farms, septic tanks, and industries, to establish sources of possible contamination and to ensure that appropriate remedial actions are put in place.

Chairman of Mullingar Town Council, Cllr Mick Dollard, was informed that the sewerage improvement scheme comprises three contracts as follows: the new sewage treatment plant, increasing the existing design capacity from 20,000 population equivalent to 55,000 population equivalent, a new pumping station on Lynn Road (towards the rear of O'Brien's Car Sales property ) and sewer rising main from the pumping station to the sewage treatment plant.

The second contract is for a new trunk sewer going from Lynn Road through the industrial estate (to the rear of Dublin Providers and eircom sites ) through the Pound Field onto Jail Hill, up Sundays Well Road, into the Park, exiting onto Pearse Street, through Buckley's car park, under the Brosna and the canal to Robinstown. The third contract involves the rehabilitation/ relaying of deficient and damaged sewers, which were identified during the preliminary report. It is hoped that this contract would start before the completion of the first and second contracts.

Construction work on Contract No 1 commenced last June, with a contract completion date of June 2010. Meanwhile, construction work commenced on the trunk sewer in August with a contract completion date of March 2010. The trunk sewer is sized to cater for a population equivalent in the Mullingar Town Network of 125,000.

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