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EPA intervention ‘a turning point’ in Drogheda odour saga

Irish Water
Irish Water have begun essential works in Drogheda.

Irish Water begin essential works on the Drogheda Wastewater Treatment Plant today (Wednesday July 1) in a bid to rid the town of a ‘noxious odour’ that has permeated through parts of the town for a number of years.

The move comes after an intervention by the Environmental Protection Agency last month. An inspection carried out by the EPA found there were detectable ‘odours in the community…that were attributable to the wastewater treatment plant.’

In response to a query from Fergus O’Dowd TD, the EPA stated the resolution of the odour issue was a priority. ‘The EPA inspectors informed Irish Water that they had detected odours from the plant and emphasised the necessity for Irish Water to take all necessary steps to resolve and reduce odours from the site.

‘Operational and infrastructural improvements planned to be implemented by Irish Water were discussed during the site visit.  The EPA instructed Irish Water to resolve and reduce odours from the site, particularly the incoming network influent, primary settlement tanks, sludge tank farm and anaerobic digester. The EPA have requested Irish Water to provide you with an update on their actions.

‘The EPA has instructed Irish Water to engage more closely with the local community and provide them with details of the corrective actions and timeframes that will resolve the odour issues,’ the statement continued.

Irish Water announced on Tuesday that they would begin to repair three preliminary treatment tanks on site. Irish Water said it would ‘improve the performance of the tanks and may assist in minimising the risk of odours from the plant in the longer term.’ The three tanks will be drained and cleaned before repairs are carried out. Irish Water say that while works are ongoing some ‘intermittent’ odours may arise.

“Irish Water will make every effort to minimise the risk of odours and to complete these works as quickly as possible. Irish Water would like to apologise for any odours that arise while the work is being carried out,” the company said in a statement.

The EPA confirmed they had received a number of odour complaints from local residents in the vicinity of the wastewater treatment plant during April and May of this year. At the time, Irish Water said they had carried out jetting and cleaning of the foul sewer network in the Wheaten Hall, Cairns Court & Roschoil areas.

Deputy O’Dowd hailed the intervention of the EPA as the turning point in the saga.

“I believe it took the intervention of the EPA to force Irish Water’s hand and begin what will hopefully lead to a permanent resolution to the noxious odour that has blighted the town over recent years,” he said in a statement.

“I have been in ongoing communication with the EPA on this matter and I would like to thank them for pursuing my complaint and taking such a firm stance in demanding Irish Water take action.

“Last year I held a meeting with Irish Water executives that led to very welcome works to their odour controls, however those works subsequently proved to have very little impact on the smell that continues to circulate in areas of close proximity to the plant. I hope that these works prove successful and I will be meeting with Irish Water Executives in the coming weeks to discuss the progress report.”

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