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West Clare to look to Waterford example to solve wastewater treatment issues

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West Clare councillors are to visit an integrated constructed wetlands project in Waterford in an attempt to find solutions to long-running waste water treatment problems.

Carrigaholt was referenced as one area that could benefit from such a visit by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) when he tabled a request for the trip to be carried out.

Dunhill Integrated Constructed Wetland located in the South-West of Waterford is responsible for the treatment of all wastewater from Dunhil village. The initial constructed wetland was built by Waterford City and County Council in 2000 where the site had two treatment ponds.

An extension to the site was commissioned in 2012, increasing the number of wastewater treatment ponds to five, which gave the wetland extra capacity to treat more wastewater caused by a growing local population.

A large number of plants like grasses, sedges, herbs and reeds grow at Dunhill Integrated Constructed Wetland. During the year, plants like ragged robin, flag iris, meadow tails, cattails and spearwort will grow and flower, attracting bees and butterflies that can help with pollination. Hawthorn, blackberry, holly and bilberry bushes all grow there. Wildlife such as spot otters, water bats, frogs and newts all live at the wetland.

“Without a doubt it is a beacon of what a community can do when they decide they are working for themselves,” Cllr Murphy stated. He believed the visit would provide inspiration for West Clare representatives.

Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) seconded the request. “It is a great alternative and is not just the solution to wastewater treatment”. Further support was voiced by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) who noted that a clause in the Programme for Government highlighted that in the instance whereby Irish Water and a local authority are unable “to fund a project such as this” that the Department of Rural Development can move in to provide the adequate financial aid. “I have correspondence from a former Minister in that regard, we’re on the right track”.

Putting solutions in place was an urgent issue, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) maintained. “These towns will be left behind if the issues are not addressed. It is a clear and present danger”.

Acting senior executive officer, John O’Malley confirmed that a site visit would be organised “to gain an understanding of possible future projects”. No date for this has been specified.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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