Sand Art Event highlights necessity for Bonmahon Water Quality Improvements

On the morning of Saturday the 9th over sixty members of the Bonmahon community descended on the Co. Waterford beach in an effort to highlight potential improvements to the areas present waste water facilities.

This was a follow up to a petition signed by over 650 residents, submitted to Waterford City and County Council as part of a group submission to the County Development Plan.

This submission requested an upgraded sewage treatment plant for Bonmahon, given that all of its current public group systems are designated as being “at capacity”.

Environmental Artist Sean Corcoran facilitated a collaborative sand art event where all the attendees got involved.  

The participants were encouraged to draw H20 in the sand and then circle the design in order to demonstrate how serious their community is about protecting the water quality in the area.

The event highlighted the commitment, passion and collective drive for continued improvements to the beautiful seaside village. 

The poor weather conditions did not deter the community from showing their support at this important event. 

From the outset it was decided by all involved that the children of the area would be to the forefront of the campaign. This decision was taken to develop their understanding of the importance of upgrading the water treatment systems to their local environment.

The initiative was supported on the day by both local primary schools, where teachers and students alike attended side by side. Local resident and primary school teacher, Catherine Whelan facilitated a filtration experiment as an interactive demonstration with the children.

During this experiment Catherine explained how polluted water can be effectively cleaned. The young participants acknowledged in a local context, how this could be replicated when it comes to water entering the River Mahon estuary. 

Jamie Power, local resident, engineer and member of the Bonmahon Water Quality Initiative said;

"Bonmahons current public system of waste water treatment is what can only be described as antiquated. The systems are simply not capable of catering for the additional loadings which have been added to them over the past fifty years since the tanks were first installed. As a result the water quality issues of Bonmahon need to be addressed now as a priority”.

Jamie, who attended the sand art event with his wife and two children went on to express the local intent behind the setting up of the Water Quality Initiative.

“The Bonmahon area itself has seen considerable investment, both public and private in recent years. As a coastal community who’s businesses are predominantly dependent on tourism and aquaculture, we feel that water quality needs to be to the forefront with regards progressive minded planning, and advancing future development in the area”.

The hopes of the people of Bonmahon are to have an opportunity for their voices to be heard by local councillors and elected representatives. The event was attended by several local politicians including Cllr. Conor McGuiness, Cllr. Seanie Power and Minister Mary Butler who expressed their interest in supporting the community in addressing the issues raised. 

To date the group have sought feedback from Irish Water, The EPA, Waterford City and County Council and An Taisce, and they hope to see a collective effort made towards the implementation of a fit for purpose waste water treatment plant for the area. 

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