Tolka River suffers fish kill after sewage leak

by Mark O'Brien

There have been calls for greater protection of local waterways after a number of fish were killed in the Tolka River following a sewage leak last week.

The leak was caused by a car tyre that was dumped in the river, causing a blockage in the sewer network at the Mulhuddart Bridge, near the entrance to Tyrrelstown Park.

The exact number of fish killed has yet to be determined with some claiming that up to 500 fish may have been killed but Irish Water say that the number is most likely in the mid-teens.

This is not the first time the river has been affected by an incident of pollution.

In 2014, Alma Hygiene in Cabra were fined €35,000 when a detergent leak from their factory killed over 5,000 fish in the river.

Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) attended the scene on Tuesday, July 18 and said that local angling club members were very upset that another incident of pollution had occurred.

“The club members were very angry that another disaster has been visited upon this river and said it now seems that there is a major fish kill every year,” he said.

Cllr Donnelly also called on Fingal County Council to secure all of the manholes on the route to the river in order to prevent any further incidents.

Fingal County Council said that they are currently working with other bodies such as the EPA, Irish Water and Inland Fisheries to come up with solutions to the problem.

Swords Councillor Duncan Smith (LAB) – a former junior member of the Tolka Angling Association – said that he would like to see more protection for local waterways.

He said: “I would like to see a risk assessment done by Irish Water in conjunction with our local authorities to highlight risk areas for pollution and put in place environmental plans at these locations so any pollution events are avoided and don’t impact on our fish population.”

Cllr Roderic O’Gorman (GRE) also called for greater protection of the waterways and an urgent restocking of the river.

Cllr O’Gorman added that Dublin 15 residents had put in a great amount of work in recent years to improve the water quality in the Tolka River.

A spokesperson for Inland Fisheries said that they would be meeting with the local angling community, where the possibility of restocking the river would be explored.

Irish Water appealed to the public to refrain from putting items into the sewer network that could cause overflows.

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