Deputy Deasy referred the matter to the EPA in response to reports from a member of Tallow & District Angling Club who was alarmed to see a large volume of untreated sewage entering the river just 100 yards from Tallow Bridge.
Similar concerns have been raised in the past. The Council previously indicated a new treatment plant would be commissioned before the end of this year. However, the Waterford Grouped Towns and Villages Sewerage Scheme, of which Tallow is part, was delayed.
Irish Water took over the combined project in January and has included it in its Capital Investment Plan 2014-2016. The utility has signed a contract for the ’Seven Villages’ scheme which is due to commence shortly, with a two-year completion target. The local authority has already completed the collection system works.
The old part of Tallow is served by a septic tank and the new estates to the east of the town by an integrated constructed wetland. The septic tank discharges under gravity to the River Bride downstream of Tallow Bridge.
The EPA pursued Deputy Deasy’s complaint with Irish Water and also carried out a site inspection. It duly opened a compliance investigation and instructed Irish Water to take a number of actions — including emptying the existing septic tank and transporting the contents to a suitable facility for treatment. This was completed in mid-October.
The EPA said “Irish Water was also reminded of the requirement to comply with conditions of their licence.” With the upgraded scheme due to be operational in late 2016, “In the interim, the licensee is required to optimise the current plant through increased operation and maintenance and a regular de-sludging programme” — details of which were to be submitted to the Agency by last week. The EPA also wants a screen installed on the primary discharge from the Tallow plant.