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Irish Water should avail of ‘golden opportunity’

IRISH Water has the ‘ideal opportunity’ to extend the Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme to the Bonagee area as part of its plans to take water from the Eddie Fullerton Dam to supplement the town’s existing water resources.

Works are due to commence shortly between the Polestar Roundabout and the Dry Arch roundabout as part of a multi-million euro project on upgrading the town’s water supply.

While the investment is good news for local businesses and residents many feel that Irish Water should also take the opportunity to address structural defects in the existing sewerage system.

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Retired school principal Donal Coyle, who lives in the Bonagee area, is a well known and respected political activist.

Speaking to the Donegal News this week Mr Coyle suggested that Irish Water had been presented with the perfect opportunity to upgrade the sewerage scheme in the Bonagee area.

“This is an essential project for Letterkenny town but, unfortunately, there will be negative impacts on businesses and residents not to mention the traffic disruption.

“With that in mind would it not make sense to lay a second pipe in the same trench while they’re dropping pipes for the new water main between the Polestar Roundabout and the Dry Arch?” Mr Coyle asked.

Referring to a letter sent to the late Councillor Harry Blaney, dated April 1997, signed by J.F McInerney, Senior Executive Engineer with Donegal County Council, Mr Coyle noted that “the anticipated that Sewer Extensions (in the Bonagee area) will follow completion of the improvements to the Sewerage Treatment Works at Magheranan”.

Twenty-two years later Bonagee residents still rely heavily on septic tanks that require constant maintenance.

“This is a golden opportunity for Irish Water to sort out the ongoing sewer problems in the Bonagee/Dromore areas. A new pipe would no longer mean that people are relying solely on septic tanks which are causing problems. There’s a large concentration of houses in the area, a number of filling stations, the local Bonagee United football club, a hotel as well as other industrial outlets which all rely on septic tanks. It’s time to upgrade the Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme – almost twenty two years after the late Councillor Blaney – was first told in a letter from Donegal County Council that it was happening,” Mr Coyle said.

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However, it would appear that the proposed extension of the Letterkenny Sewerage Scheme in the Bonagee/Drumany areas remains little more than a pipe dream.

It follows confirmation that Irish Water did not consider this work to be of sufficient priority to be included as part of the €44 million programme of works on the town’s water supply and addressing deficiencies in the sewer network.

Over the next four years Irish Water will invest approximately €160 million euro as part of the upgrade and provision of new wastewater infrastructure across 29 towns and villages in Donegal.

“Having regard to investment priorities in the county and available funding Irish Water did not consider this work to be of sufficient priority,” a spokesman for the company said.

“It is not simply a matter of dropping sewers in under a watermains contract. There is a requirement for sufficient separation between sewers and watermains. Also sewers and watermains are laid at different levels with sewers typically laid at a much greater depth. Issues such as ground conditions, available grades and depths can have significant impact on costs of installing sewers and associated manholes and pumping stations,” the spokesman added.

Irish Water have liaised with the National Roads Office in Donegal and have included the provision of four sleeves across the N56 Four Lane in the roads contract as part of its plans to take water from the Eddie Fullerton Dam to supplement the town’s existing water resources.  

“This will allow any future water services infrastructure to cross the road without disruption to the upgraded road should future funding become available,” the spokesman said.

It is anticipated that works between the Polestar Roundabout and Port Bridge will be completed by autumn 2019. Works will be carried out at night starting from the proposed road crossing west of Cullion Road Junction. The roundabout will be fully open during daytime hours. Traffic management will restrict traffic flow to single lane with traffic light control at each junction.

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