O’Briensbridge residents have voiced their frustration with an ongoing wait for a public sewerage system and are demanding a full environmental investigation into the health and safety of their water quality.
A discharge of raw sewage is flowing into the River Shannon in close proximity to O’Briensbridge and its twin village Montpelier. Residents say they have been promised one for over three decades and that in the interval the polluted river has caused the deaths of livestock and pets.
Limerick City and County Councillor, James Collins (FF) has brought the matter to the attention of the local authority calling for the residents’ concerns and that of environmental consultants to be listened to. He flagged that the sewerage is flowing into the river, 50m from a mooring point used by triathletes and swimmers.
He stated, “Local residents have complained of dogs, a horse and cattle all becoming ill, and in some cases dying, from drinking contaminated water in the area”. Cllr Collins described it as “a serious public health issue”. Dr Eugene Bolton of Trinity Green Environmental Consultants was hired by local residents to test the water and examine the septic tank serving houses in the area and confirmed the health risks of the current situation.
Bolton’s report concluded that the existing tank is not fit for purpose, poses a risk to public health, and is a source of environmental pollution. He said it is a highly vulnerable asset and should not be located within a flood zone.
Over recent months, residents have highlighted their concerns to the environmental health section of the HSE relating to complaints of strong odours coming from septic tanks which they have said are “vile”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Chairperson of the O’Briensbridge Community Group, Margaret O’Connor outlined, “We have been highlighting this for years via Clare County Council and more recently via Irish Water. We have no public sewerage system even though we have been promised one for the last 30 years plus. Our water treatment plant is so outdated that I’m sure it contravenes every environmental regulation. We fully support Montpelier’s stance and hope it will lead to a full environmental investigation into the health and safety of the water quality of our twin villages”.