A major quarry operation in Kildare has been ordered to stop pumping huge quantities of water into a local river after complaints from locals that excavations had polluted water supplies.
Officials at Kildare County Council responded to complaints yesterday that effluent was originating from a quarry near Monasterevin. In a statement, the council said that a notice under section 12 of the Local Government Water Pollution Act 1977 would be served to cease any discharge immediately.
The move is part of a major council investigation launched this week following complaints by locals over the discharge of water from two quarries. People living along the banks of the Grand Canal in the Ballykelly area of Monasterevin told the Leinster Express that they had experienced a decline in their water supply. The residents rely on private wells, but supplies to homes have begun to run dry.
While private wells have been affected, the council is understood to be checking wells which supply public mains. Reports emerged yesterday that the council was extending its investigation because of the scale of the discharge.
Residents in Ballykelly say that the quarrying has led to a significant build-up of spring water in the quarries. Locals claimed continuous blasting at one of the quarries had resulted in irreversible damage to supplies.
One of the quarries is unused but had filled with water until pumping began before Easter. Locals claim workers installed equipment to empty water from the site in anticipation of permission to restart quarrying.
Residents say that industrial-sized pipes have pumped water from the quarries into a ditch which runs parallel to the Grand Canal. This has been confirmed by the council.
Waterways Ireland also moved this week to investigate the complaints. A spokeswoman confirmed that it had not licensed work on land beside the canal. She said that the agency would be writing to the site operators.
© 2007 The Irish Times