A start date of July 8 for the commencement of the watermains rehabilitation project in Mullingar was confirmed this week in a report given to the environment and water services strategic policy committee.
Last week the Advertiser revealed the €4.13m required to replace nearly 30 kms of Mullingar’s ageing watermains had been released by the Department of the Environment, but that the now two-year delayed plan had not got a start date at that stage.
Cllr Bill Collentine wanted to know where the project was to begin, and he was told that “the contractor has a programme of works, and we’ll know very soon what he’s doing”, by Greg Duggan, the senior engineer with the water services.
“We were worried that some streets would be done at the wrong time of the year, but Westmeath County Council will discuss the programme of works with the various trading associations, and will work at least one week in advance,” said Mr Duggan.
Another member of the committee suggested a live website for the dissemination of the ongoing plans, but Mr Duggan pointed out that the council’s web page already had this covered.
He then explained how the Coosan-Ballykeeran and Mullingar sewerage treatment plants had already been completed, but that the Athlone project was still awaiting approval from the Department of the Environment.
He also revealed that the €300,000 upgrade of the sewerage system in Kilbeggan would start in June, the Portloman water treatment plant on the western shores of Lough Owel was “nearly finished”, and that the planning order to abstract water from Lough Ennell to supply the Royal Canal had been approved.
All of these projects have been part of an overall €157m improvement of the water services in Westmeath planned or implemented over the last five years.
Mr Duggan then revealed that of the five pilot group water schemes the county council had applied for, it had only been given the green light for the Ballykeeran Big project.
However, he did point out that only eight of these projects have been given the go-ahead nationwide.
The only other failure by his department that he admitted to was that the remote operation of the combined storm overflow in Clonmellon and Killucan was not yet observable from the County Buildings, but that this was just a matter of setting up the required systems control.