Raw sewage in Donegal Bay
Recreational users of the waters of Donegal Bay were horrified to find raw sewage being pumped into the water.
According to one woman who spoke to the Donegal Post: “It was gushing from a pipe into the water just to the left of the pier in Donegal Town. You could smell it from the pier. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.”
The woman said there was faeces and toilet paper being pumped from a pipe.
This happened on New Year's Eve. But it seems this is not the first time in recent weeks that such an incident occurred.
When contacted by the Donegal Post on the matter, an Irish Water spokesperson replied: “Irish Water can confirm that emergency repair works were carried out on the rising main from the Pier Pumping Station to the Donegal Town Wastewater Treatment Plant on Friday, 28 December 2019 from 8.00am to 2.30pm.
“During this time, emergency repair procedures were implemented to ensure minimal impact to the surrounding environment. The EPA were notified of these emergency repair works at the time.
“With regards to the report of effluent in Donegal Bay on the 31st December 2019, Irish Water can confirm that the Donegal Town Wastewater Treatment Plant was operational and fully compliant during this period.”
However, the Donegal Post can confirm that the problem on December 31 was witnessed by a number o f people.
Cllr Tom Conaghan (Ind) said: “It is not acceptable that this is happening. Obviously, there are serious environmental considerations here.
“Furthermore, this part of the bay is used by a number of watersports clubs and there are people of all ages going out on the water. It is unacceptable that their health would be put at risk like this.
“And imagine how it looked to visitors to the area. It is certainly not the image of Donegal Town that we want people to be left with.”
A particular concern voiced locally was that there was no warning notice that the water was contaminated.
The woman who spoke to the Donegal Post said: “If you were in a shop and something was spilled on the floor, they would have to put up a sign warning people about it.
“Surely there should have been a sign up at the pier warning people not to go into the water because of this contamination. Even a small splash with that stuff that I saw could be very dangerous.”
Cllr Conaghan said: “I hope Irish Water will ensure that this never happens again.”
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