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Belmullet sewerage EPA licence ‘unworkable’ according to Council

Belmullet sewerage EPA licence ‘unworkable’ according to Council

Anton McNulty

Mayo County Council say they are hopeful they will be on site to start the construction of the Belmullet Sewerage Scheme at the end of 2014 despite admitting parts of the EPA licence were ‘unworkable’.
The EPA granted a discharge licence for the proposed Belmullet Sewerage Scheme just before the Christmas which came with conditions for the new proposed outflow pipe into Blacksod Bay and also the existing outflow pipe which flows into Broadhaven Bay.
Mr Noel Burke, Senior Engineer with Mayo County Council told last week’s Belmullet Electoral Area Committee meeting that the conditions relating to the Broadhaven Bay outflow pipe were ‘unworkable’ because there is no treatment plant with it.
“There are two parts to the licence, the Blacksod side is a new plan which we are happy to work with but the other part [Broadhaven] from a Council’s point of view is unworkable. It puts the same conditions on us as if we have a scheme [in place]. There will be meetings between us and the EPA and discussions are ongoing. We hope to come to some resolution,” he explained.
Planning for the proposed Belmullet Sewerage Scheme Treatment Plant was given the go-ahead last October despite objections from some residents and shellfish fishermen who are concerned about the environmental impact it may have. The plant will be located at Corclough East with an outflow pipe going out into Blacksod Bay and the objectors believed this was the wrong location.
There is no treatment plant in Belmullet at present and the sewage currently runs untreated into Broadhaven Bay from an outflow pipe which is currently the subject of the licence conditions.
Mr Burke said the new stage of the project will be to secure a foreshore licence and to get approval for a brief of consultants in order to bring the project forward.
He said they expect the approval to be granted shortly and this will allow the consultants to prepare the Belmullet/Foxford and Charlestown sewerage scheme bundle to process to the tendering stage. Mr Burke added that it was important that they have the consultation process in place and that they hope to be on site at the end of 2014 and completed by 2015.
Cllr Gerry Coyle said he was happy the project was progressing well and wanted to ensure everything was ‘spot on’ and done in the right way. Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh said she hoped the project was put in place as quickly as possible and added it was a vital piece of infrastructure for the town.
Mr Burke also commented that there was a grant for Group Sewerage Schemes where up to 75 per cent of the costs was available where a number of households provide a shared sewerage collection/disposal system.
He said if groups are interested the Council will assist them if they come together and it is economical to do. He said areas like Toorglass in Belmullet which will not be connected to the main scheme may be able to avail of that.  Cllr Gerry Coyle said that there were up to 100 houses near Carrowmore lake which could also avail of it and Cllr McNamara said that Polranny village which was excluded from the Achill Sound Scheme should think about it.
Mr Burke said the cost of the remainder of the scheme would have to be paid by the group themselves.

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