Kildare County Council faces lengthy river and drains cleaning list

Long list: The list of rivers and drains requiring cleaning exceeds resources

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare County Council faces lengthy river and drains cleaning list

Kildare County Council's offices at Aras Chill Dara

A call for the council to put in place a schedule to clear drains and ditches to combat flooding was made at last month’s full council meeting, which was held on December 18 last.

Cllr Carmel Kelly tabled a motion to cover the duration of winter 2017 to 2018.

The meeting heard that the list of rivers and drains requiring cleaning exceeds the amount the council can cover annually.

However, in general members were told that those causing flooding to properties are prioritised.

The meeting heard that each January, the council decides which drains will require maintenance as part of the Drainage Channel Maintenance Programme.

This is controlled by Inland Fisheries Ireland and is the only time the council are allowed to use machines to remove silt from rivers and drains.

The meeting heard the council are allowed to use the machines to remove suspended silt and debris, but cannot touch the riverbeds.

Health and safety requirements mean, however, that the council is generally restricted to smaller drains and streams, the meeting was told.

Tree cutting has to be carried out in advance of any river cleaning and can only be done between the months of September to February, and is dependent on access to lands being granted by the relevant landowners.

Members were told of the programme for 2018, once access from landowners and approvals from Fisheries are in place.

The programme is funded from the revenue budget.

Issues such as funding and refusal of access, either from the landower or Fisheries, can result in changes to the programme.

Cllr Carmel Kelly acknowleged the report, but said that it fell short in relation to the road drains.

“Where are the road drains in the report?” she said.

“The ones that get blocked in bad weather due to fallen debris. Look at the recent flooding in Dara Park in Newbridge during the heavy rains. Why is there reoccuring floods and what is the plan?”

Director of Services Joe Boland told the meeting that Dara Park was a complex issue adding that it was progressing well.

“The Newbridge interceptor sewer needs to be updated at a cost of €25 million. It is an Irish Water project. This will improve the sewage capacity in Newbridge.”

Despite €300,000 of council funds spent on flooding issues in Dara Park, the residents were hit once again by sewage floods last November.

According to a council report, the flooding at Dara Park was caused by debris blocking a trash screen located in a property next to the estate owned by Irish Rail. The council said it is working with Irish Rail to ensure the problem does not reoccur.

It stated that the Dara Park Surface Water Scheme was to alleviate flooding from the storm water system and not the foul water system.

Both of these systems consist of separate pipe networks, with the foul network unfortunately compromised by illegal/improper and legacy surface water connections, the meeting heard.