Badly working wastewater treatment plants could be responsible for the poor quality of some Kildare waterways, a public meeting has been told.
The agriculture industry gets a lot of the blame for polluting Ireland’s waterways but there are other culprits, a Community Water Office representative told the Council’s Maynooth Municipal District meeting on March 9.
Aoife McGrath, Navan based official from the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office said some waterways in Kildare are not achieving the water standards set down in EU legislation for them.
Around 45% or rivers and 54% of lakes are defined as being less than good when it comes to water quality.
She said not all of the problems are caused by agricultural related materials running into water. Some of it is from urban waste sources.
Cllr Brendan Weld said that two rivers meeting near Baltracey, Donadea, were of concern to him, including the Clonshanbo. He said a wastewater treatment plant serving a housing estate in the area was causing major difficulties and residents in the area had to provide a substantial amount of money.
“I don’t think the Council’s Environment Section knew what the standard was or what it should have been at the time,” he said, “Now, a lot of residents did not have the money to fix these (private) plants.”
Ms McGrath agreed that a lot of wastewater treatment plants are under pressure and they are talking to Irish Water about funding to fix them.
She said the quality of the Lyreen and Rye rivers were both of “poor” standard.
Cllr Tim Durkan said that regarding the Lyreen river, he did not think a lot of pollution was coming from the agricultural sector. There were fish stocks in both the Rye and the Lyreen.
Ms McGrath said the answer was not a one size fits all. You cannot point the finger at one source or another. Agriculture was one potential source. There are others including domestic wells, urban waste and waste water treatment plants.
She told the March 9 meeting that the Environment Protection Agency are the regulatory body.
A new River Basin Management Plan is to be launched in two months time. She said there had been a drop in quality since 2007.
It is planned to do surveys on Lyreen and Clonshanbro rivers try and establish if they need to prioritise agricultural or urban runoff into rivers and lakes.
Part of the work of her office is helping community groups, such as Tidy Tidy Town Associations, clean up rivers and she cited the example of Newbridge and the Broadmeadow project in Ashbourne, Co. Meath which received a €7,000 grant.