An Offaly family have expressed their disgust after raw sewage overflowed into their garden over the last week. The family's back garden became partially flood with sewage from the main sewerage system in Walsh Island.
Ronan and Rachel McDermott from Coolagarry were disgusted with the flooding which occurred as their sons, Ross (4) and Mikey (6) were playing in the garden. They then had to contact local services and Irish Water to deal with the issue.
Neighbour and proprietor of Hoppers Bar in Walsh Island, Madeline Flint, said, "This incident started last Wednesday and still to this day no one from Irish Water has been near the place. The family were distraught last week and moved out with the children to neighbours. The smell and mess was too much for them. The children's health was the priority."
"They had this once before and they were passed between council and Irish Water and were given a bottle of disinfectant and told it was sorted," Madeline added.
Irish Water is responsible for the maintenance of the public wastewater system and clears any blockages that are occurring within the public sewer.
When contacted by the Offaly Express about this incident in Walsh Island, Irish Water said they, "made contact with the customer in question and the clean-up has been completed."
Madeline Flint stressed that while that particular incident has been cleaned, "the problem is not sorted and is a much bigger issue that exists with the sewerage infrastructure."
"It will happen again and in other premises as it has done before. We all have been lobbying for more than fifteen years for this to be overhauled," she stated, going on to say that while the housing stock in the area has grown since the original houses were built in the 1970s, "there has been no sewerage investment."
"Irish Water admitted to us directly that it needed major works and that plans and budget were in place eighteen months ago. We pay rates and water rates and our business is affected as the pump station is twenty metres away," Madeline explained.
"When it's emptied manually the smell drives customers away. I know the windfarm pays rates in excess of half a million in rates a year and you would think those close to it would have infrastructure upgrades completed as a priority," she continued.
In a statement to the Offaly Express, Irish Water said it "acknowledges that it is very distressing for customers when a blockage of this sort occurs."
"We are also investigating what can be done to ensure that this situation does not arise again," they continued.
The utility also said urged customers experiencing any issues in relation to the public water or wastewater network to contact them at the 24/7 call centre pn LoCall 1850 278 278.
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