Woodbrook pumping station is only operating at 85% capacity
An upgrade of Buncrana's wastewater infrastructure is in the pipeline.
Irish Water did not give a time frame but said it would be submitting planning proposals for Buncrana Sewerage Scheme to Donegal County Council “shortly”.
The Utility added: ““The planning application for Buncrana will include the provision of storm water storage at the Westbrook Pumping Station and an upgrade to parts of the sewer network, to increase its capacity and reduce overflows.
“Works will take place in the following locations: Cahir O'Doherty Avenue, Aileach Road, Railway Road, Cockhill Road and Westbrook Pumping Station.”
Calling for start and completion dates for the project, Donegal Councillor Nicholas Crossan said it was “unacceptable” raw sewage was, on occasion, overflowing into the River Crana.
Speaking to Donegal Live, Cllr Crossan said: “There is a capacity issue with Westbrook Pumping Station. Even at the best of times, it is only operating at about 85 percent capacity. So, if a flash flood occurs, the holding tanks are not big enough to hold the water and it automatically overflows into the River Crana.
“Now, even though it would be diluted, it is totally, totally unacceptable that sewage would be going into the Crana. The Crana River is a hugely important asset for Buncrana. Even thinking about the one million euro refurbishment of Swan Park, there is not much point having a beautiful walk through Swan Park, up the river and raw sewerage running down. It is not on. It is not acceptable.
“The Westbrook Pumping Station upgrade is a job which needs to be done sooner rather than later. The granting of planning permission by Donegal County Council is a formality, what Buncrana needs is the funding from Irish Water, a start date and a completion date.
“I have written to Irish Water and contacted the Environment Section of Donegal County Council within the last month regarding Westbrook Pumping Station. I have asked Irish Water to install bigger holding tanks, which would be able to store the storm water until such times as the flash flood or the flooding dies down and then it can be pumped to the treatment plant at Railway Road, instead of overflowing into the River Crana,” said Cllr Crossan.
Currently, there is only primary treatment at Buncrana treatment plant.
According to Cllr Crossan, waste, which has received only primary treatment, settles in a holding tank and is eventually pumped into the Swilly.
Cllr Crossan added: “I am also calling for storm tanks at the Buncrana Treatment Plant because, currently, there is not enough capacity there either. Overflow is happening there too, although on a smaller scale than at Westbrook Pumping Station. Ultimately, we have to go for secondary treatment in Buncrana.”
Buncrana Anglers' Association has welcomed Irish Water's proposed upgrade of Westbrook Pumping Station.
Pat Kane, the organisation's PRO said: “Buncrana Anglers' Association welcomes the upgrade of Westbrook Pumping Station, which will, hopefully, stop the sporadic discharges of raw sewage into the River Crana when there is heavy rainfall. The upgrade is great news as it coincides with the restoration of Swan Park.
“No-one would want to see raw sewerage running down the Crana River as they walk around Swan Park next year. No-one wants a foul smell coming off the river.
“The Westbrook upgrade won't only benefit the anglers, but more so the wider community. Thanks has to go to our local politicians, from Donegal County Council to the Dáil for putting pressure for putting pressure on Irish Water: Cllr Nicholas Crossan, Cllr Rena Donaghey, Cllr Jack Murray and Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD and Charlie McConalogue TD,” said Mr Kane.
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