I have been campaigning for some years for Irish Water and Fingal County Council, who are their agents, to make information on all sewage overflows publicly available as soon as they happen. I was particularly concerned when a number of years ago we were told by Irish Water that there had been no sewage discharge at a particular location only to find out some months later that there had.
I believe the ongoing failure to make this information easily and immediately available to the public is a breach of the obligation of active dissemination in the Aarhus Convention and the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations.
I have made an AIE request for information about the sewer network and locations of discharges and overflows, as well as details of the overflows over recent years. Here’s the response:
This still isn’t giving the information needed. The information should be supplied in a format readable by a Geographic Information Systems application. There are vital details which aren’t supplied. For example, if there’s an overflow from the sewage pumping stations beside the Sluice or Mayne rivers, where exactly does the sewage enter the rivers/ estuary? Where are even the general locations for all of the overflows listed in the spreadsheets? They’re only identified by name in the spreadsheets and the names aren’t placed on the maps supplied. Also there are mystery objects identified as “other”, for example on the part of Balscadden Road where there is no foul sewer. I’ll continue to follow up with Irish Water.
But it does give a lot of interesting info which hopefully will be of use to groups like Baldoyle Wild Towns who are working on cleaning their local stream.