Sinn Féin Visit Staleen Water Treatment Plant & Pipeline Project

Sinn Féin Councillors Kenneth Flood and Joanna Byrne accompanied Imelda Munster TD to take a tour of the construction site of the Staleen Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Project last Friday.

The visit was to show progress of the works on the pipe laying element of the project.

The new pipeline will help to ensure the delivery of a safe, secure and reliable water supply to Drogheda, South Louth and East Meath. Once complete, the old pipeline which has experienced two significant bursts in the past year can be decommissioned. The new treatment plant will ensure that the water supply is removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Remedial Action List (RAL) for exceedances of THMs (trihalomethanes).

However, during a Q&A session following a briefing from Irish Water Management, in answer to the Sinn Féin team’s questions it was exposed that although the project will bring the outdated infrastructure up to modern standards and will immensely improve the quality of the water delivered, the plant itself will not be fit for purpose to supply the increasing demand that will be expected of it by then.

The plant currently exports 30,000 sq cubes of water per day, 1,250 per hr, and it was confirmed to the SF team that the new pipeline will not export much more than that.

With 5,000 houses planned for construction in the Northern Environs area of Drogheda alone, leading to a population increase of approximately 15,000 people it is obvious that the water demand will dramatically increase in that area alone in years to come, let alone expansion in any other area added to that.

The question has to be asked as to why, when Irish Water planned this project, none of this was taken into consideration? Will the lack of water supply stop the growth of Drogheda?

The Drogheda Sinn Féin Team said, “we will be raising this at forthcoming council meetings and with central government. The council, as the local planning authority, have a responsibility to ensure the infrastructure is in place to serve the houses that they have granted planning permission for. Also, if Drogheda is to attract Foreign Direct Investment, especially anything in the manufacturing sector, including pharmaceuticals, Drogheda must be able to ensure that we can deliver the massive water supply that such industries need. The new pipeline cannot be the end of the water infrastructure investment in Drogheda. The government must commit to a water delivery plan to ensure Drogheda can fulfil its potential and become this states next City.”

Cllr Flood Concerned at Lack of Fleadh Water Plan

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has asked Louth County Council officials if there will be enough water in Drogheda to serve the forthcoming Fleadh. The reply is got has caused him concern.

Cllr Flood said “given the recent drought conditions I asked if our local reservoirs were full enough to meet the projected needs for 400 thousand visitors.  I was informed that that the situation was being monitored and further restrictions would be put in place if needed. I feel there needs to be a bit more clarity around that.”

A further concern that Councillor Flood raised was the water main at Staleen Water Treatment Plant. Cllr Flood said “I asked if a contingency plan or a Plan B is in place in case of a repeat of the main bursting again as it did recently and more infamously, last year when we were without water for over a week. Again the answer was there was a plan in place that included distributing bottles of water and they were confident they could repair any burst quickly. Considering the fact we have had two bursts on the same pipe in the same place in less than 12 months I’m afraid I do not share their confidence.”

Cllr Flood said he was hoping for a more concrete answer. “I wanted reassurances that there were advance preparations in place for a disaster that may well happen. I expected to hear that there will at least be tankers on standby to supply the venues and hotels, our 400 thousand visitors and the residents of Drogheda who will be hosting the biggest event in our town’s history.”

Cllr Flood quipped “If this drought continues we may need to add a rain dance to The Fleadh’s Dance Competition.”

Watermain Stress Testing Cause Residents’ Stress

Sinn Fein Councillor Kenneth Flood has slammed Louth County Council following two unannounced water outages on two consecutive days in the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area.

Councillor Flood said “In the early afternoons of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of March I was inundated with calls from residents of several estates asking why there was no water in the area. I contacted Irish Water to query this on both days and was told on both days that they had no information.”

Councillor Flood then proceeded to contact Louth County Council who informed him they were ‘aware of an issue and it would be resolved soon.’

Cllr Flood was told on the second day of the water outage “that contractors were stress testing the new water-main for the Newfoundwell/Termonfeckin Road area, but that the water was only supposed to be off for 15 minutes. This was not the case. Residents were without water for up to 5 hours and when supply did eventually return it was murky and undrinkable.”

Councillor Flood said “They must be detached from reality not to think of the thousands of residents who were plagued by water outages for years until the North Quay watermain was replaced. Their unannounced testing caused severe stress and concern among residents. I shared the information via social media and then spent hours phoning residents back to tell them what had happened. Again, a lack of information and communication from Louth County Council.”

Kenneth Flood had harsh words with Louth County Council about these unannounced water outages and told them “they must take heed that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again.”

Imelda Munster Welcomes Upgrade of Staleen Water Plant

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has welcomed the news that the contract has been signed to expand and upgrade the Staleen Water Plant in Drogheda.

Commenting Deputy Munster said “following on from the mayhem caused during July when 200,000 people were left without water for six days it is good news to hear that the water plant at Staleen is finally to be upgraded and modernised to make it fit for purpose.

“It should have been invested in and upgraded over the years instead of waiting for a crisis of this magnitude to happen.  The contract will include the replacement of the rising main which contributed greatly to the cause of the water shortage crisis. With the contract signed for the expansion and upgrade of the plant work is expected to begin before the end of this year”.

Cllr Joanna Byrne Calls for re-opening of the Bring Banks for plastics to be permanent

Following the request from Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne to reinstate the collection of plastics from the Bring banks, Louth County Council has confirmed they will reinstate the service on a temporary basis. This is due to the increased volume of plastic bottles and containers used over the past week in Drogheda during the Irish Water crisis which saw tens of thousands of people left without running water for a prolonged time.

Cllr Byrne said “While I welcome the Council’s decision to temporarily reinstate this service following last week’s Water Crisis, I would like to reiterate my request that the decision should be made permanent and the full collection service of plastics resumed.”

Joanna Byrne went on to say, “In the short period of time since this service was axed there has been a significant rise in the levels of illegal dumping. The attached picture is one I took at the site of the bring banks on the intersection of Platin Road and The

Bring Banks overflowing with plastic bottles 1 week after the decision

Industrial Estate last Sunday afternoon. I reported this to Louth County Council and requested that it be tidied up immediately. This is only one example of what is happening right across the county.

“Whilst I commend the co-operation of the Local Authority with this temporary’ move, I have also written directly to Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council and requested that now that this service is back in operation, that it stay that way permanently.”

If the Chief Executive continues to defy the wishes and needs of the constituents of Co Louth, and indeed the public representatives of this county who unanimously supported a motion to keep the collection of plastics from the bring banks, Cllr Byrne has vowed she will continue to “pursue this request at any and every given opportunity”.