Concerns Ballycotton water treatment plant could damage local fishing industry

Fears have been raised that wastewater treatment works planned for a pier in East Cork could undermine the structure and cause untold damage to the local fishing industry.

Concerns Ballycotton water treatment plant could damage local fishing industry

Fears have been raised that wastewater treatment works planned for a pier in East Cork could undermine the structure and cause untold damage to the local fishing industry.

County councillors are to ask Irish Water officials to attend a meeting in an effort to urge them not to locate the treatment plant under the pier at Ballycotton because of concerns it may lead to subsidence.

Cllr Michael Hegarty said a sinkhole appeared at the pier 15 years ago and led to major disruption.

"The location of the pumping station is underneath the toilet block and they (Irish Water) will have to excavate 15 feet underneath it for the treatment plant," Cllr Hegarty told a meeting of the East Cork Municipal District Council.

He said he has questioned Irish Water officials over this.

Cllr Hegarty said he was told that while Irish Water has carried out a marine survey in the immediate area their engineers haven't looked at what was underneath the pier: "What if something happens when the work is going on? This is a working pier. There are trucks taking fish off it daily and oil tankers coming onto the pier to supply fuel to the boats."

Cllr Hegarty added that a nearby "brownfield site" has been identified as a suitable location for the treatment plant by locals and this should be used instead: "To me Irish Water aren't listening and are prepared to drive on regardless. There is a solution to this if common sense would prevail."

Cllr Hegarty got unanimous support from his colleagues to allow a delegation representing Ballycotton Development Company and Ballycotton Fishermen's Association to outline their concerns at next month's municipal district council meeting.

Cllr Michael Hegarty said that everybody in Ballycotton welcomes that at long last Irish Water is going to do something about raw sewage draining into the harbour, but the genuine concerns have to be addressed.

Cllr Michael Ahern said he attended an Irish Water briefing on the project in Ballycotton a few weeks ago at which locals had expressed their concerns.

"Irish Water is not listening to those who know about the pier," Cllr Ahern said.

Cllrs Susan McCarthy, Danielle Twomey and Mary Linehan-Foley also raised their concerns.

Municipal district council chairman, Cllr Noel Collins, said he will write to Irish Water requesting they send officials to next month's council meeting and extend an invitation to attend to the Ballycotton groups.

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