More than a decade before the solution was due to be put in place, plans are in place to prevent untreated sewage from being pumped into the sea north of Dublin.
Outside of Howth, the picturesque Dordrum Bay pipeline continues to spew sewage into the ocean from 45 local homes serving a population of just 120 people.
Campaigners in the area said despite the situation, visible public warnings were inadequate, and visitors to beaches located away from popular coastal walking routes were advised to stay near outlets. It is often seen bathing. Some people harvest periwinkle and eat it.
“Resolving” the problem
Having recently briefed the local community about plans for two new pumping stations, Irish Water said it aims to apply for planning permits later this year.
“Eliminating emissions in this region is a particularly challenging project that requires extensive consultation and planning,” said the spokesperson. “Constraints included densely developed areas, Howth Special Amenity Area Orders, Howth Special Conversation Areas and multiple technical challenges to overcome, which outweighed most Irish Water projects. .”
Cllr David Healy of the local Green Party said the pollution was to be addressed by the end of 2011 as part of the licensing agreement accompanying the operation of the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant.
Calm Bay is symptomatic of a much broader problem. Of the 50 areas identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the past decade, only 17 have blocked untreated sewage from entering bodies of water. Irish Water said it plans to remediate the “majority” by 2025 and that Dordrum Bay has been a priority since some initial work was carried out seven years before him.
Patrick Jackson, the resident and campaigner behind the school-based Picker Pals clean environment initiative, explained how sewage was leaking from an old shattered pipe onto the beach itself.
“We had about 100 square meters of beach and it was just disgusting. There was an old pipe that had just broken,” he said. About seven years ago he launched a campaign to bring about solutions. Since then, new pipe extensions have moved the sewage past the low water mark.