Over 80 objections lodged against Kilkee water treatment ‘monstrosity’

Locals say the cliff walk in Kilkee is under threat from the planned waste water treatment plant. Photo: Google Maps.

PLANS by Uisce Éireann for a new wastewater treatment plant for the west Clare seaside resort of Kilkee are facing strong local opposition, with one objector branding the proposed treatment plant ‘a monstrosity’.

Last month Uisce Éireann lodged plans for its new wastewater treatment plant aimed at eliminating the discharge of untreated wastewater into Intrinsic Bay at Kilkee, a sideside town popular with many Limerick holidaymakers.

However, plans are facing strong opposition with some objectors hitting out at the planned location of the wastewater plant, close to the Cliff Walk popular with tourists and locals alike, while other say the treatment proposed for the wastewater doesn’t go far enough.

To date, Clare County Council has received over 80 third party submissions on the scheme.

A planning report lodged with the application states that current Waste Water Discharge Licence (WWDL) requires secondary treatment “but following an assessment primary treatment has been concluded as appropriate treatment”.

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In one objection, Gerard and Catriona Hennessy of Dough, Kilkee, told Clare County Council (CCC) that the proposed plant “will have a negative impact on such a scenic area. It is a local attraction on the Wild Atlantic Way and we believe this will have a negative effect on Kilkee’s popular ‘Cliff Walk’.”

Elaine Haugh Hayes and Robert Hayes of Naughton’s bar and restaurant told CCC that the plant’s location “is most unsuitable due to it being to it being adjacent to Kilkee’s most natural attraction – the Cliff Walk.”

Chris and Karen Kearns of Dough House, Kilkee, said that they were delighted to hear that Kilkee was finally to secure its water treatment plant.

They state that the proposed treatment plant is providing only primary treatment “and given the 30-year lifespan of the development, this is way below the full waste water treatment that we the permanent residents of Kilkee have been promised since the mid 1990s”.

The Kearns add that “the proposal does not meet the expectations of preventing any sewage from reaching the pristine Kilkee Bay Blue Flag beach … that in the event of plant failure/excessive rainfall, there would be an emergency discharge to the Victoria Stream”.

Tom Byrne told CCC that while it is commendable, though very late, of Uisce Éireann to now address the issue of the construction of a badly needed WWTP to serve Kilkee, “what has been submitted falls very far short of what is required”.

The Kilkee man said that given the population density and the strictures of the European Wastewater Treatment Directive, the people of Kilkee deserve an “overdue and proper consultation on an acceptable and viable state-of-the-art solution.”

Dr Tom Nolan also lodged an objection against the proposed plant, stating that that it is a “sad historical fact” that the people of Kilkee and visitors have been treated “disgracefully” by CCC over many years in the matter of the maintenance and high quality bathing waters for which it was once famous.

Kilkee resident Sheila Lardner branded the plant as a “monstrosity”.

Ms Lardner contends that the scheme would not only be “a visual eyesore” on a scenic route “but also the smells, sounds, and light pollution would destroy the area”.

A spokesman for Uisce Éireann said that as the application is live, Uisce Éireann wouldn’t be commenting on the contents of submissions.

The spokesman said that the project “will end the discharge of inadequately treated sewage into the bay”.

“The new sewerage infrastructure will bring significant benefits to the local community by improving water quality in the receiving waters at Intrinsic Bay”.

He added that the scheme “will also enhance the environmental amenity of Kilkee, protecting recreational swimming, fishing, boating, and sightseeing waters”.