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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 28 January 2021

Rank smell plagues Donegal estate as raw sewage runs down main road

The problem has persisted for over five years but the county council says it can’t do much about it yet.


THE HEATWAVE HAS been welcomed by most this week – reading in the garden, barbecuing out the back and water fights with the other kids on the road.

But for one group of residents in Donegal, none of those things are possible because of a disgusting sewage problem that has plagued them for years.

A manhole in Hazelwood Drive and Clonleigh Park regularly overflows, leaving a stream of foul smelling sewerage which moves towards the main Lifford to Letterkenny road.

According to residents, the situation is a health hazard, especially for children who play in the estate. 

One man said he had seen “condoms floating down” in areas where children play, while others are concerned about cars splashing the water up on passers-by.


Residents are also concerned that the value of the properties has been impacted by the problem.

The smell this week was described to TheJournal.ie as “horrible” by one visitor to the estate.

“The thing with the smell now is that due to the heat, it is much more noticeable,” he added.

Homeowners want Donegal County Council to step in but the local authority notes that Hazelwood is a private housing estate.

But the management company are no longer operating and the developer has left the site.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the council said that it had taken “short term action” by desludging the wastewater tank and the associated network.

“This is a private estate and the private wastewater system is not functioning properly,” the statement said.

“It appears that  residents were obliged to form and engage in the Hazelwood Drive Management Company, as a condition of sale, when properties were purchased.

“It would appear that this company is not actively functioning, with the result that the management of the treatment plant has been neglected, the system was not maintained and the ESB appears to have been cut off as no one was paying the bills. It also appears that the developing company has gone into receivership.”

However, a separate section within council does have a remit to deal with unfinished estates. That group is “actively engaged in securing the bond monies in order to carry out remedial works at the wastewater system and restarting the treatment system again”, according to the council spokesperson.

“Donegal Co. Council is working on a solution along with the relevant parties involved, (including financial institutions in control of bonds), as well as investigating national funding opportunities emerging to address legacy issues such as these.”

Local publication, Donegal Now, took some footage of the overflowing manhole.

Source: Donegal Now/YouTube

And an August 2012 Google Streetview still shows that this problem has been ongoing for years.


Related: Donegal County Council need €7.8 million to fix Lifford water

Watch: Manhole cover explodes on busy Dublin street

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