Director of Services Matt Shortt
The quality of water in the Thurles area has dramatically improved in recent years, and the town is ready to handle any new industry seeking to locate here, heard Councillors at the October meeting of Thurles Templemore Municipal District.
Director of Services Matt Shortt said that while Thurles and Roscrea were listed in a recent report stating they had failed to meet EU standards of water quality, this “does not relate to the treatment plant” in Thurles, but to surface storm water which emerges on exceptional occasions.
The report on October 24 showed that in Co. Tipperary, Mullinahone, Roscrea, and Thurles are regarded as “areas where improvements are required to resolve environmental priorities.”
Thurles was also cited as an example of a “Large Urban Area where the collection and treatment of urban waste water did not meet European Union standards.”
Cllr Michael Smith said a series of reports all show that investment is needed in those sites.
Cllr Jim Ryan said he had raised this issue “for years”. There is “raw sewerage being pumped in (to the river Suir). It’s not good enough. Something will have to be done. I’m glad now the pressure is on.”
It’s “not the County Council’s responsibility, it’s Irish Water’s,” he said.
Cllr Seamus Hanafin said he did not want the message to go out that raw sewerage is going out “all day, every week.”
Cllr David Doran said there has been concern locally since the news broke. “Thurles is not meeting standards. That’s not good enough. We have a responsibility for that.”
Mr Shortt said he didn’t want investors or business to think that a large planning application couldn’t be dealt with.
“The report does not relate to the capacity of the treatment plant.” The report relates to “surface storm water. We can handle extra planning applications.”
Cllr John Hogan said another report, from 1999, showed that water quality has greatly increased since then. “It has improved dramatically. It’s important it be put into perspective.”
There is still some work to get storm water under control, but the message shouldn’t go out that the quality of water in the Thurles area is deteriorating. “The opposite is happening,” said Mr Shortt.
Cllr Jim Ryan said he was “still not happy that sewerage is going into the river, and that is happening.”