As work on the contracts relevant to the Ballymore Eustace Sewerage Scheme is about to commence, Kildare County Council has arranged for a public information evening about the project to be held in the Ballymore Eustace Resource Centre on Tuesday the 22nd of January, 2013, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Plans and particulars of the scheme will be on display for the duration of the evening. Representatives from the contractors and consulting engineers, along with associated members of staff will be available to explain the works and answer any questions relevant to the project. All are cordially invited to attend.

G. Halton
Senior Executive Officer
Water Services Section
Kildare County Council

The information night from 6pm to 9pm was a great success with many people expressing great satisfaction at the proposed plans.

Present at the meeting included:

Representing Kildare County Council: Joe Boland, Director of Services, Liam Crawford, Tim O’Connor, Paul Batty. For Consultants Nicholas O’Dwyer: Terry O’Flannagan, Martin O’Connell. For Contractors Ward & Burke: Pat Barrett. For Contractors Resource Engineering: Alan Dolan. A large representation of the general public including most of the committee members of the Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association.

The Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association are pleased that as we argued at the Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing back in 1999 (when Abbeydrive were seeking planning permission to build a new sewage treatment plant at the site of the existing sewage treatment plant at the Strand) that any new plant should be constructed downstream of Ballymore Eustace village. While the Inspector dealing with the Oral Hearing agreed with our case Bord Pleanala granted permission for the proposed plant to be built on the existing site.

However, An Bord Pleanala refused permission to Abbeydrive to build the 416 houses which had been grated permission by Kildare County Council at the 40 Acres, Ballymore Eustace and so, Abbeydrive Developments did not go ahead and build a new sewage treatment plant now referred to as Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) 

Despite all that has been achieved in the past number of years Ballymore Eustace has suffered one major drawback and that is the lack of a modern sewage treatment plant or waste water treatment plant as they are now called.  Perhaps in one way this was a blessing in disguise as it prevented the wholesale destruction of a Special Village by huge speculative developments such as the 507 houses at the ’40 acres’ or the 73 houses at Bishopshill or a similar number at Doran’s Park, Susheen.  Under the present circumstances, it might now be easier for Ballymore Eustace to develop in a controlled way.
On the down side, Ballymore Eustace has many derelict sites that need to be developed such as the old Donaghy’s Garage site, Oliver Plunkett Road site, Site opposite the Band Hall, Site between Barrack Street and Oliver Plunkett Road, etc.  All towns and villages need to develop and grow in a controlled way; otherwise, they just stagnate and die.  Ballymore Eustace is one of only a few places in Leinster to have suffered a decline in population in the April 2006 Census (population 725) but to many peoples surprise the population of the village increased by 147 to 872 people in the April 2011 Census but the population of the parish decreased from 1524 in 2006 to 1475 in 2011.

A short history of attempts to upgrade the sewage treatment plant in Ballymore Eustace might help highlight the difficulty in attempting to draw up a development plan for Ballymore Eustace.
Since the mid 1980’s Kildare County Council has promised a new sewage treatment plant for Ballymore Eustace.  At first, the village was to be linked to the Upper Liffey Valley Regional Sewage Treatment Plant at Osberstown, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Policy later changed and Kildare County Council decided that Ballymore Eustace would get its own Sewage Plant. 

Things dragged on until 1998 when Abbeydrive Development sought planning permission from Kildare County Council for 507 houses at the ‘40 acres’ Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace. Abbeydrive also sought permission to build a 2000 P.E. Sewage Treatment Plant at Kildare County Council’s existing site at the Strand, Ballymore Eustace.  However, An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for the 416 house development which Kildare County Council had granted  but did grant planning permission for the proposed new sewage treatment plant. As expected without permission to construct the houses the Developer did not construct a new Sewage Treatment Plant. These Developments were the subject of a Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing. 

On the 6th October 2005, Kildare County Council announced in the local press that it intended to construct a new Waste Water Treatment Plant at Susheen, Ballymore Eustace and convert the existing plant at the Strand to a pumping station.  However, an objection by the Health Service Executive dated 29th March 2006, on the basis that the proposed site was too close to an existing residence, put an end to this plan. 

In December 2007, the Council advertised under Part 8 of the Planning & Development Regulations 2001 their intention to construct a new sewage treatment plant, this time at a site downstream of the village at the Kimmeens, Ballymore Eustace with the existing plant being converted to a pumping station.  It appeared to be all systems go, as there was no objection to the proposed plant.  It was expected that the plant would be operational in 2009.  Site investigation surveys, archaeological surveys, landscape surveys were all carried out during 2008.  However, the village was devastated by a letter dated the 26th February 2009 from The Director of Services, Kildare County Council stating that due to the present financial crises the project was being reviewed by the Department of the Environment and indeed the Minister for the Environment Mr. John Gormley withdrew proposed funding under the Serviced Land Initiative.  The Council made a positive submission to the Department of the Environment “citing, in particular, the extent to which planning applications are currently on hold as well as the desirability of addressing water quality issues.” Representation was also made to the Minister for the Environment by the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association requesting that the new plant be approved in order to prevent continued pollution of the Liffey and to allow the village to develop rather than stagnate and die.  Mr. Jack Wall T.D., on behalf of the Angling Association, put forward no less than five different Parliamentary Questions to the Minister concerning the proposed Ballymore Eustace Sewage Treatment Plant. The whole village was delighted when on the 19th April 2010 the Minister for the Environment Mr. John Gormley published the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012.  A total of €3,545,000 was allocated to the Ballymore Eustace Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Our delight was somewhat curtailed when we learned from the Director of Services, Water and Environment Dept., Kildare County Council that the Council itself must come up with 60% of the cost of the Sewage Plant. The Director of Services informed us on the 8th April 2011 that the best scenario at that moment was that the WWTP would go to tender in May 2011, commence construction in the 1st quarter of 2012 and be operational in the 4th quarter of 2012. This we were told depended on Kildare County Council coming up with 60% of the cost of the plant.  When the Minister for the Environment Mr. John Gormley included Ballymore Eustace WWTP in the 2010-2012 Serviced Land Initiative this meant 40% funding by the DoEHLG and 60% funding by Developers/KCC.  In an email dated 21st April 2011 to the three South Kildare T.D’s, the Director of Services informed them that Kildare County Council had applied to have the project approved as a conventional project with 78% funding by the DoEHLG and 28% funding by KCC. Jack Wall T.D., on behalf of Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers agreed to ask a Parliamentary Question of the Minister to find out the Ministers position. 
On the 21st April 2011 the Director of Services Kildare County Council met with developers interested in building in Ballymore Eustace and found that there was little prospect of private sector funding for the construction of the new sewage treatment plant at Ballymore Eustace bearing in mind that substantial dezoning took place in the village in the new County Development Plan 2011 – 2017.
Accordingly, as part of the annual review of the Water Services Investment Programme, Kildare County Council applied to have the project reapproved as a conventional project i.e. 78% funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and 22% Kildare County Council.
The Director of Services Kildare County Council informed us that the new Minister for the Environment Mr. Phil Hogan T.D. was reviewing all spending by his Department.
A letter from The Director of Services to the TSAA dated 19th July 2011 states that —" the final consents from the Department are now expected and it is, therefore, envisaged the new sewerage treatment plant will shortly be going to tender. I will keep you appraised regarding progress.—"
The Department did consent to the new funding arrangement.

A reply was received to the following question submitted by Councillor Mark Wall from Water Services Kildare County Council at the Athy Area meeting on Monday 19th September 2011.
"Councillor Wall
That the council confirm the up to date position in relation to the new sewerage plant for Ballymore Eustace following previous meetings on this issue.
Water and Environmental Services.
Report: Matters are progressing well; all design aspects are complete, issues relating to accommodation works, wayleaves and contract documentation are currently being finalised. It is proposed that the project will go to tender before the end of the current year. There will be two contracts involved ie, the waste water treatment plant and the network. A construction period of approximately one year is envisaged.
The members will be kept informed on progress.
(Issued by G. Halton, Senior Executive Officer, Water Services)"

The Trout and Salmon Anglers on 31st January 2012 emailed the Director of Services, Water & Environment, Kildare County Council seeking a reason for the delay in tendering and received the following reply on the same date “The delay is certainly regretted tom but it does seem that issues are now resolved.. We met the dept of env inspector on 19 January and discussed the matter…the only outstanding issue currently , as far as I am aware, is to forward and agree budget projections. All design aspects and contract documents are finalised, wayleaves should be in-hand, and I see no reason why we cant go to tender before the end of February.”

A further email reply from the Director of Services dated 6th March 2012 stated “treatment plant now going to tender…got declg approval last week…..”
Then, on the 28th March 2012 the tender notices appeared on eTender. Two contracts, the main WWTP at the Kimmeens and the Pumping Station plus pipework at the Strand.

The EPA on the 17th February 2011 granted a Waste Water Discharge Licence for the proposed Waste Water Treatment Plant and one of the conditions is that it be operational by December 2012.

A Landscaping Plan for the old Sewage Plant site (new Pumping Station) which will totally transform this section of the Riverside Walk was agreed between Kildare County Council and the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association and we are desperately awaiting its implementation.

At present, planning permission has been granted by Kildare County Council, with a condition attached that construction cannot start until the new Waste Water Treatment Plant is constructed, for a 59 bed Nursing Home at Tinnycross, 11 houses at Donaghy’s old Garage site, 4 houses in Barrack Street, 3 houses at Golden Falls.  The derelict house on Oliver Plunkett Road beside Paddy Murphy’s Pub was refused planning permission for apartments and three shop units solely because the present sewage treatment plant is overloaded.

A new sewage treatment plant will have numerous advantages for the village:
it will remove the existing dilapidated sewage plant away from the centre of the village and Riverside Walk/Linear Park amenity area and replace it with a landscaped pumping station.
it will remove current obnoxious smells from this amenity area.
it will transform the visual aspect and amenity value of the Riverside Walk.
it will cease the current discharges of raw sewage to the Liffey at the Riverside Walk amenity area.
it will improve the quality of the water in the River Liffey.
it will allow development and clean-up of the current derelict sites and buildings in the village.
It will allow the village to develop in a controlled way.