Cork’s Green Party has warned that Kinsale’s “smelly” waste water treatment plant is having a negative impact on residents, and could struggle to cope with Kinsale’s growing population in future.
The EPA inspected the Kinsale Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) at the start of August, as part of an investigation into odour complaints.
The inspection detected odours at the WWTP, which the EPA said must be addressed as an “immediate and urgent priority” by Irish Water.
The EPA reported that measures taken to date at the plant are “not sufficient to address the impact of the odour offsite”, and in particular noted that an open man hole at the top of the sludge holding tank was a cause of odour issue at the plant.
The inspection found ongoing breaches at the plant for levels of Total Ammonia, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), carbonaceous Biological Oxygen Demand (cBOD), Suspended Solids (SS) and orthophosphate.
The report also questioned the capacity of the plant to cope with its intake, especially during the summer months, when the sun, heat and lack of wind can exasperate malodorous conditions and there is an increased level of visitors to the town. It flagged that there was a power outage for the duration of the site visit, and the backup generator could not be started.
The Green party has said that they and local residents are “quite concerned” about the negative impact of the existing waste water treatment plant and its capacity to address existing loads.
They added that new developments in Abbey Fort for hundreds of houses, and planning applications for a further 80 plus homes in the area, could “result in a huge amount of additional load on the existing struggling infrastructure”.
Green Party Bandon Kinsale Representative, Marc Ó Riain said that it seems “unfair on local residents” to have to “put up with what seems to be poor management of the site”.
“..manholes being left open on sludge tanks, pumps and back-ups not working due to power outages, and what seems to be a lack of control of biological materials and chemicals - this needs to be addressed with great urgency especially before new houses on stream for occupation,” he said.
He added that the fact the Kinsale WWTP does not have an ultraviolet disinfection process for treated water being released into the river is a “major concern”.
“Local fisherman depend on shellfish harvested directly downstream from the waste water egress point and we have a lot of swimmers and water sports which would be directly affected. The ultraviolet disinfection process kills harmful bacteria which could infect shellfish, potentially leading to illness if eaten,” he said.
“After contacting the EPA it turns out that Irish water have not risk assessed the potential damage of released treated effluent into the harbour of Kinsale. We therefore ask that Irish water as a matter of urgency to carry out a risk assessment and install ultraviolet disinfection at Kinsale waste water treatment plant,” he added.