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Ref: Meath Chronicle 23/01/2016 (Author: Seamus Enright)
(Meath Chronicle) FLOODING ‘Stop looking over hedge’, says Mullagh councillor after Cavan lake pollution fears
ELECTED representatives in County Meath have been told to “stop looking over the hedge” and concentrate on matters in their own area, regarding recent concerns of pollution on Lough Ramor. It comes as Irish Water is evaluating plans to redevelop the entire pumping station inlet works at the County Cavan lake where an EPA investigation is ongoing.
The alleged pollution on the 800-hectare lake at Virginia following the flooding of the local pumping station was discussed at a Municipal District meeting in Kells recently. The storm tank on site at the facility was too small to cope with overflow from the storm pipe, which led to a breaching of the kerbs on the site boundary.
Meath councillors voiced apprehension given that the primary outflow of the lake is the Blackwater River from which water is abstracted to service many parts of north Meath. Following representations, the matter was also brought before the January meeting of Cavan County Council where Sinn Fein Cllr Noel Connell asked that the executive examine, in conjunction with Irish Water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of the Environment, “concerns about pollution on Lough Ramor and subsequent effects this may have”.
But Cllr Connell’s motion was greeted with scorn by fellow council member Cllr Shane P. O’Reilly. In addressing the motion, the Mullagh Fianna Fail councillor sought to remind those present of an historic incident of pollution in his local area, which had originated in County Meath, and was addressed by the actions of Cavan County Council.
“Perhaps they should be looking at their own patch and stop looking over the hedge at what’s happening in this county,” Cllr O’Reilly said. The meeting was informed that Cavan County Council was aware of the issue and steps had since been taken to address the matter, which is the responsibility of Irish Water. From an EPA perspective, storm water management and controls at the pumping station are currently being investigated following a complaint, and the agency is currently engaged in discussions with Irish Water.
When storm flows at the facility recede, it is understood that a condition survey of the existing overflow pipe from the site is planned to ensure it is working to is maximum capacity. “Cleaning of all chambers, sumps and equipment shall be carried out in advance of upgrade works. It is planned to upgrade the pumping station’s telemetry system to enable remote and more effective monitoring of the pumping station,” an EPA spokesperson commented.