independent

Sunday 18 August 2019

Storm building in estate over faulty sewerage pump

ballyhogue 1
ballyhogue 1

By David Tucker

People in a Ballyhogue housing estate, who are living with the daily fear of raw sewage flowing into their homes, have accused the county council and Irish Water of ignoring their plight.

The residents first wrote to the council's chief executive Tom Enright and council engineer Sean Kavanagh last July, but despite months of correspondence, similarly with Irish Water, they are no nearer getting the Seven Oaks estate taken in charge and getting the problem solved.

Now they have written again to the chief executive again appealing for urgent action.

At the heart of the issue is a sewerage pumping station that frequently breaks down, allowing raw sewage to back up in the pipes and to flow back into some of the eight homes in the estate.

Locals said they were only aware the estate had not been taken in charge at the middle of last year when a house sale fell through for this reason.

'You will appreciate fully the terrible distress and anxiety this has caused our residents.. At a time when property sales are hard enough to achieve in Co. Wexford without having this type of issue.. and indeed the concern this has caused all of the residents of Seven Oaks,' said Mark Hopes, the chairman of the Seven Oaks Residents' Association.

Mr. Hopes said that he had correspondence dating to 2012 from the builder of the estate confirming that 21 points demanded by the council to take it in charge had been complied with, and that a payment of €22,855 had been made by the developer to the county council for public sewerage infrastructure.

The chairman of the residents association said his understanding was that no-one in authority wanted to deal with the problem and spend money fixing the faulty pump, which is currently being 'nursed' by the residents themselves. He said officials had once turned up,looked at it and shut it back down again

'There is a need for most urgent action by the county council,' said Mr. Hopes.

In the past few months, the residents have also approached Minister Paul Kehoe, who wrote to Environment Minister Alan Kelly. The response from his Department was a copy of a circular suggesting that Irish Water has to work with the council to prioritise such issues.

Following a meeting with Minister Kehoe in January, Mr. Hopes told him: 'All the residents of Seven Oaks, continue to be very worried, hugely concerned and highly frustrated regarding the lack of any positive developments with regards to our estate being taken in charge and the hazardous dangers that we face daily'.

Irish Water recently told the residents that there were no plans to take the estate's water services in charge and that it was waiting for the council to prioritise work for it.

Mr. Hopes said the main problem was a widespread one in the county, in that the council did not take adequate security from developers to make sure there was money in the bank in the event that any remedial work needed to be done once estates were completed.

Wexford People

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