Raw sewage flowing into Nanny from Duleek houses

Our friends at the Irish River Project are doing sterling work publishing environmental information from around the country. One document got our attention, the Meath 2022 National Enforcement Priorities Progress report which is a report from the council to the EPA about the council’s environmental enforcement activities.

You can access the report at this link.

This report reveals among other things that sewage from at least 4 houses in a Duleek estate, constructed in 2000, flows straight into the Nanny River. This is because the council discovered that when the houses were built, the sewage was connected to the storm drain and not the foul drain. The foul drain (toilets, washing machine, dishwasher etc) goes for treatment while the storm drain (rain run-off) goes straight into the Nanny River. Worse still, the Council doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to fix it.

This is what the report says:

Meath CC carried out misconnection surveys at a residential estate in Duleek, with blockages reported on the storm line by Meath CC water services. Initial inspections (visual inspections of manholes) identified foul sewage in the storm line and narrowed the scope of investigation to a line serving 19 of the 57 houses in the estate.

The storm line outfalls to the main channel of the river Nanny, immediately upstream of WFD monitoring site 08 N 010500, which was classified as Q3-4 in 2018 and deteriorated to Q3 in 2020. EPA Biological Survey report for River Nanny in 2020 notes filamentous algae and siltation issues along its entirety, however, misconnections affecting the storm line are assessed as a significant pressure at this location.

The misconnection surveys in this estate were carried out by calling to the possible identified misconnected houses, following manhole inspections, over a two day period, explaining the nature of the visit/inspection and requesting to perform a dye test on the day, if allowed infeasible. There was a very positive reaction to this request, with every available homeowner facilitating these inspections.

In total, 36 visits were made over the two days, with dye tests performed at 14 houses, including three houses outside the initial scope to verify that the area of investigation was correctly identified. Of the identified 19 houses, 14 inspected, including three outliers, four were found to be miss connected, with eight houses remaining to be inspected. The foul sewerage is directed to the stormwater line.

The estate in question was granted planning permission in 2000 (36 apartments and 120 houses) and was taken in charge by Meath County Council in 2011, and it appears that checks in advance of the taking in charge process to ensure that foul and storm lines were constructed correctly were not adequate to identify these problems.

The works required to rectify matters at this stage will involve two possible options – individually connecting the miss connected properties to the foul line, this would involve extensive works digging up front gardens, footpath, roadway, possible electrical services etc or to connect a section of the identified misconnected storm line to the foul line both of which are on the public road within close proximity of each other. At this point, it is assessed that as the misconnections do not arise from actions or faults of the individual homeowners the approach of connecting the section of storm line into foul sewer may be preferable. On completion of remaining dye test an investigation comma the findings will be flagged with Meath CC and council planning section regarding the need for robust procedures in the TIC [taking in charge] process to prevent recurrence of similar issue.

Meath NEP Report 2022