An Bord Pleanála has upheld a Kerry Co Council decision to grant a licence for the discharge of effluent from Dinis Cottage where thousands of tourists take refreshments while visiting the scenic area.
The cottage, dating back to the 1700s, is on the shores of the Muckross, or Middle, Lake, and close to the picturesque Meeting of the Waters. The effluent will be discharged to a constructed wetland before entering the Long Range River which connects the Middle and Upper Lakes.
Tralee man Michael Horgan, secretary of the Lakes and Rivers of Kerry Salmon and Trout Conservation Association, appealed against the council’s decision.
He claimed sewage treatment plants were inappropriate “time bombs” and not suitable for high-risk areas of national parks.
However, Dr Pamela Bartley, who completed a report for An Bord Pleanála, said the discharge would not adversely affect water quality and would comply with the national objective to maintain water quality.
She was satisfied the wetland had the capacity to retain and treat the wastewater from the coffee shop and restaurant.
The council gave the licence subject to 15 conditions which include daily inspections of the system and annual desludging. No fats, oil or grease can be discharged.
The site, famous for its oak and yew woods as well as the lakes, is a candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The cottage is serviced by septic tanks which are emptied and “tankered” off the site.
The 10,300-hectare Killarney National Park has 10 habitats of major ecological interest which have an Annex 1 listing under the EU Habitats Directive.