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Irish Water halts Lough Foyle sewage plant investigation works due to protests from locals

The company said it is postponing the works for the safety of its contractors.

Image: Campaign for a Clean Estuary

IRISH WATER HAS halted plans to carry out investigation works for a sewage treatment plant on the shore of Lough Foyle in Donegal following protests from locals opposed to the project.

The utility company cited concerns for the safety of contractors as the reason for postponing investigative drilling for the Moville Wastewater Treatment Plant on the northern tip of Donegal.

The proposed facility would see wastewater pumped from the town of Moville to the plant at Carnagrave where it would be treated and discharged into Lough Foyle. 

The plans have incited fierce opposition in the area since they were first mooted back in 1989, with activists staging protests and even creating a short film to highlight their concerns.

They say that the proposal is flawed because in the event of a plant breakdown raw untreated sewage would be pumped into the estuary and it would wash up along the shoreline. Fishermen also have fears that the plant would destroy the valuable local fishery.

A drilling rig that was set to carry out the works in now being dismantled after fishermen told Irish Water that the rig would be blocked if it attempted to move onto the pipe site.

crane-2 Source: Picasa

Irish Water says that, while the investigation works are necessary to finalise the design of the plant, they are not critical to the project at this stage as it prepares to submit a planning application.

“Irish Water had concerns that the site investigation works may be obstructed, and as such have put the safety of their contractors personnel first, and postponed the investigations until a future date,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to TheJournal.ie.

Irish Water says it will carry out the marine investigation surveys at a later date and hopes that the community will work with them. Land based site investigation works are continuing as planned.

The company says the plant is needed to end the current “unacceptable practice” of untreated wastewater from Moville being discharged into the Bredagh River and Lough Foyle at five locations.  

The activists want the proposed plant moved further up the coast, allowing it to discharge waste water directly into the open sea.

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Ceimin Burke

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