Treatment plant opening can trigger tourism boom on top of development

Cllr Joe Byrne at the new wastewater treatment plant in Kinvara.

The development of tourist activities as well as the provision of new houses in the South Galway town of Kinvara can now be achieved following the opening of the new wastewater treatment plant.

Minister Simon Coveney was in Kinvara on Friday to officially open the new plant – there has been a local campaign spanning more than 30 years to end the disgrace of raw sewage being pumped into the bay.

Treated wastewater is now being safely discharged to Kinvara Bay through a new marine outfall pipe, which will result in significantly improved water quality in the area.

Prior to the opening of the new treatment plant, the bay in Kinvara was a feeding ground for hundreds of seagulls on a daily basis which were the only creatures that relished the raw sewage in the waters.

But now local Cllr Joe Byrne says that the €5 million treatment plant has ended the discharge of the raw sewage into the bay and even more importantly will allow the town to develop into the future.

He said that for more than three decades the locals – including his own late father Cllr Toddie Byrne – had been campaigning for new sewage treatment facilities for the 1,400 residents in the town.

“For years the town has been crippled because of the raw sewage flowing into the bay on a daily basis. We could not develop water-based tourist facilities for pure health and safety reasons. The only ones using the waters around Kinvara were the seagulls who came for their daily lunch,” Cllr Byrne added.

The Environment Minister travelled to Kinvara on Friday to officially open the village’s long-awaited wastewater treatment plant. The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon on the facility brought a protracted 30-year campaign to a conclusion for local residents.

Work on the upgrades to stop untreated waste water being discharged directly into the sea got underway early last year. The new treatment plant has now been brought into use and has resulted in treated waste water is now being safely discharged to Kinvara Bay, which has already resulted in significantly improved water quality.

Cllr Byrne said that over the past three or four weeks the water quality going into the bay has resulted in a significant improvement and it was now hoped that activities like swimming, sailing and canoeing can now take place in the bay.

“It is a brilliant good news story for the town and surrounding area and we also have been promised that there will be some major road resurfacing works to take place in Kinvara over the coming weeks and months.

“Even the whole issue surrounding planning has been addressed. It was impossible to get planning for houses because of the whole problem with sewage entering the bay.

“And county planners are not very enthusiastic about granting planning for houses with their own septic tanks but now we have a situation in which much needed housing development can take place,” the Fine Gael councillor added.