Residents living in parts of Athy were forced to leave their homes for several hours when the stench of sewage returned to the town once more last week.
The long suffering residents and business owners at Geraldine Road, Leinster Street and the Kildare Road were affected by the resurgence of the smell last Tuesday March 25.
Fran O’Meara from Geraldine Road told the Leader that this has been a problem for five or six years, but it had escalated in the past two to three years.
“It gets so bad that you just have to leave. You have to get out. It comes into the bedrooms, up through the sinks, it doesn’t come up from the toilets,” he explained.
He said he believed the problem was due to the system being over loaded. He explained that when the council turn off the pumping stations on the Kildare road the smell dissipates. However, it returns, once they are switched back on.
Cllr. Mark Wall told the Athy Town Council meeting last Wednesday March 26 that both he and his colleague Cllr. Aoife Breslin had to leave their own premises because of the smell.
“We had business owners telling us that customers were walking into their shops and turning around and walking out again. This is not acceptable,” he said.
He told the meeting Cllr. Breslin and himself had met with the Town Engineer on Tuesday afternoon. They asked officials for an outside expert to be brought in to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all. Councillors around the table agreed the Town Engineer had worked hard to try and find a solution, but the cause had not been identified. Cllr. John Lawler suggeted it may be a legacy problem with the system from years past.
Town Manager Joe Boland agreed to seek out an expert in the field to examine the situation. He said it was not a question of resources and whatever resources were required would be made available.
“It’s imperative that we find out what is the root cause,” he said. He listed a number of works which the council had carried out to alleviate sewerage problems, however he acknowledged they didn’t solve the overall problem.