Cllr Joanne Pender addresses the meeting. Picture: Tony Keane
Massive insurance hikes have hit a Newbridge estate hard, with one Dara Park resident paying an annual premium of €1,100 with an excess of €5,000 due to the estate’s horrendous record of flooding.
“The smell of sewage coming up the sinks is terrible. This is going on years, 42 years, it’s shocking,” one angry resident told a public meeting held in the Newbridge Family Resource Centre last night, Wednesday, November 29.
“My garden is sunk, my tarmac is sunk down. I got a letter of comfort, but it’s no good to me,” said another resident.
After torrential rain on November 22 the estate was flooded with sewage floating in the water, which threatened the homes. Luckily no water entered any premises, but gardens, footpaths and roadways were covered with sewage waters.
This comes just three months after a similar incident, which wasn’t as serious, but nevertheless posed problems for the Newbridge estate.
The meeting, chaired by Residents Chairman, Joe Burke was told that two blocks in particular were badly affected.
Residents from four of the houses, which are the most at risk, said they were fed up with the lack of progress.
“If there is heavy rain tonight, it’s a guarantee that those houses are going to be flooded with sewage again,” added Mr Burke.
Joe Burke pictured in front of the remains of the sewage flood last Wednesday
At the outset, he said the council had informed him that the flood relief works were a success and the reason for last week’s flooding was down to a blocked culvert, which was on land owned by Iarnród Eireann.
He said the council now has protocol in place where it will be allowed access to the land to clean out the grills on a monthly or quarterly basis.
“Why did it get to that stage? That protocol should have been put in place when the works were being done to prevent this from happening,” he said.
He said he wanted a meeting with Irish Water to discuss the problem.
Resident, Jim Behan said the grills should be redesigned to prevent debris getting stuck.
Mr Burke said there was one particular area in the estate which needed tackling, but he was told the works would cost €1m to fix it.
Cllr Joanne Pender said Irish Water plans to carry out a major project, which will increase the capacity of the sewerage network in Newbridge, however, this won’t be completed until 2020. She said it's not clear if this will fix the problems and she has asked Irish Water for more details.
She said the council said there had been poor connections made to the sewerage system, some illegal, which were causing problems. She said that perhaps these could be fixed in the short term.
She told the meeting the council was satisfied the €300,000 flooding works had worked, but that the blockage at the culvert had posed the problem.
“The council has expressed their sympathy with your frustration,” she said.
Cllr Sean Power suggested a delegation from the estate meet with the new council engineer in the New Year. He said it was important that every house make a list of the problems they have and give it to Mr Burke to present to the council. He said the councillors would work with the residents to try and get the issues resolved.
The residents said cameras had been put down drains before, surveys undertaken and information handed over the council on countless occasions down through the years.
Cllr McLoughlin Healy suggested the residents ask for an independent review of the report carried out for the council on the flood relief works.
Mr Burke said his children were walking through school in the floods, and then it went on so long, his grandchildren were walking through the floods to get to the school bus, until works were carried out on his block. He said it was a health and safety issue.
It was agreed to have a meeting with the council in January. Mr Burke thanked Cllr Power, Cllr Pender, Cllr McLoughlin Healy and Dep Fiona O'Loughlin's parliamentary representative for attending the meeting.