The construction of new housing developments in the Edenderry area may have to be stalled due to capacity issues at the town's sewerage plant, local representatives have warned.
Concerns were first raised by Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick after it recently emerged that there are capacity issues at a wastewater treatment plant in Edenderry and that these capacity issues could have an impact on future housing construction.
In a statement issued to the Offaly Independent, Cllr Fitzpatrick said that at a time when there is a shortage of housing in Edenderry, funding has to be secured to increase capacity at the plant.
"Irish Water are stating they don't have the funding to upgrade existing plants and this in turn will cause issues for large housing developments as per planning applications lodged with the local authority where the question will be asked about capacity."
Cllr Noel Cribbin said that he and his fellow councillors were " at the recent news that the Edenderry sewage works had capacity issues and that as a result could stall the building of much needed houses both private and local authorities in Edenderry"
"It’s vitally important for the town that new builds can proceed as with up to 250 houses ready to start in both private and LA that they proceed and that half of the 200 families on the housing list can attain their own homes and that the badly needed 160 private homes are also built which will again give those wishing to purchase that opportunity and will also help to stop the spiraling high cost of house rentals in Edenderry. It’s also vitally that our biggest employers Rosderra are not confined by these capacity issues and that this problem does not impact on the company in any negative way and that this issue is resolved ASAP."
The Fianna Fail local election candidate Christine Traynor said that the capacity issues at the waste water treatment plant in Edenderry and Walsh Island are another example of the continued underinvestment in north Offaly's infrastructure.
"I have been calling on the council to address the issue of the unfairness of distributing funding, north Offaly has not got its fair share. The systems are not fit for purpose and investment is required to fix this big problem."
In a statement issued to the Offaly Independent, a spokesperson for Irish Water said temporary measures are being implemented to increase waste water treatment capacity for the Edenderry area.
"As Edenderry Wastewater Treatment Plant is at capacity, it is included in the 2020-2024 investment plan, subject to approvals and funding by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, which will be clarified in the next few months. In the meantime IW has identified optimisations that can provide additional capacity to cater for immediate demand, and any party seeking connection can apply to IW’s connection and developer services (CDS). Via CDS they will be informed of capital requirements related to their load to provide matching capacity to allow the connection proceed. Alternatively as the WWTP is proposed for the investment plan and is considered a priority site, parties can provide a temporary on-site treatment system which they will own, operate and de-commission once the full WWTP upgrade is completed."
A feasibility study report will commence in 2020, at the start of the investment period, followed by detailed design, planning approvals, environmental impact assessments(if required), tendering and construction.