RAW sewage overflowed onto Callary St and into the Grand Canal during the torrential downpour on Monday last.
Visiting the scene on Monday evening, local Dail Deputy Barry Cowen, after speaking with local residents, called for an immediate resolution to a problem which has been ongoing for decades.
Earlier waste water had bubbled up through a manhole on the public footpath while the road was extensively flooded posing a hazard to motorists.
Kevin Murtagh, who lives with his family at Callary St, told Deputy Cowen and Cllr Declan Harvey that “every time it rains heavily this stuff comes up.”
He said residents, many of whom were elderly, had been calling for action for years but “had given up the ghost” in despair.
Mr Murtagh added that the pipe under the canal was too small to take all sewage and waste water from the area where a large number of new houses had been built in recent years.
Deputy Cowen said the time for stop-gap measures had ended and called on Irish Water to take immediate steps to solve the problem.
He said that the overflowing of sewage and waste water posed a health hazard to residents and all those using the canal amenity.
“Cllr Harvey has raised this on many times at council level and the stop-gap measure appears to be to flush the pipe out,” added Deputy Cowen.
Cllr Harvey said Offaly County Council had been proactive in ensuring drainage companies were on hand to alleviate the situation almost immediately when it occurred but this was not a long term solution to the problem.
Yesterday [Tuesday], he was contacted by Irish Water who said the issue was a matter for the roads section of Offaly County Council.
Rebecca Minihane, from Irish Water’s Local Representative Support Desk, said the company had conducted an investigation which determined that flooding in the area was caused by rainwater.
She said it was a matter for the council and apologised that Irish Water “cannot be of any further assistance.”
Cllr Harvey said he intended to raise the matter again with the utility company and with the council.
Following a similar flooding incident in 2016, Irish Water said they had established that the issue was “as a result of the requirement for either a new siphon or upgrading the existing siphon”.