Posted by Tony Galvin, The Tuam Herald in News.

The days of the septic tanks are numbered in Claregalway and Milltown as a major step towards providing up-to-date sewage treatment facilities for both communities was taken this week when Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced €2.8 million in funding for the necessary piping.

Galway County Council will now advertise for tenders for the laying of the pipe work and this will then be followed by the construction of modern sewage treatment plants in both Claregalway and Milltown.

Tuam Area Councillor Tom McHugh told The Herald that at a Fine Gael meeting with the Minister he indicated that funding would be made available before the end of the year to construct the actual treatment plants in Claregalway and Milltown.

However Galway East Deputy Michael Kitt said it would have been better to get the full funding in one go, as committed to by the last government.

The news will come as a relief in both communities and will end years of campaigning and lobbying to get adequate infrastructure put in place which can facilitate orderly development and planning for the future.

A Senior official with Galway County Council, Enda Maloney, explained to The Herald that this is another step in the drive to have every village in the county connected to a treatment facility.

The phasing out of septic tanks and the discharging of sewage into local water courses will make a significant contribution to water standards in streams, river and lakes and is in line with EU directives governing this area, he said.

Minister Hogan announced the funding on a visit to Galway when he officially opened the Luimnagh upgrade for the Tuam Regional Water Sewerage Scheme Extension. He also opened the Headford Sewerage Scheme.

Councillor Sean Canney has welcomed the announcement. He said that after decades of disappointment the Milltown Sewerage Scheme has finally been approved to go to tender.

“I’m delighted that the Department of Environment has sanctioned €2.8 million in funding for the construction of the pipe network for the Claregalway and Milltown Sewerage Schemes.

“When completed the projects will ensure that raw sewerage is no longer entering the rivers and polluting our waterways.

“The lack of a sewage treatment plant has hampered development taking place in Milltown over the years. This is very positive news for Milltown,” concluded Councillor Canney.

Minister Hogan attended a Q&A session with members of Galway County Council at County Hall on Monday.

Minister Hogan said: “The Department of Envonment is committed to enhancing the water and sewerage framework which will provide economic growth and facilitate new development while preserving environmental and water quality services in Galway. In the 10-year period from 2000 to 2009, my department has invested some €353 million in Galway water and sewerage infrastructure.

“I am pleased to announce today that I am giving the green light for the €7 million Clifden Sewerage Scheme. In addition I have given the go-ahead for the €0.87 million collection network for the Claregalway and Milltown Schemes. This is part of the €133 million included for water and sewerage contracts to start in Galway under my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010–12.

“This will greatly improve the quality and scale of the wastewater infrastructure in the county and provide the capacity to support economic growth in Galway.

“The financial support from my Department reflects the commitment to continuint investment in our waste-water schemes to ensure that discharges into our rivers, lakes and coastal waters meet the highest international standards and enhance the quality of the bathing water in the Galway area.”

The Minister pointed out that the water programme for the county includes €10 million for upgrading Galway city’s water services; €11.6 million for the Athenry sewerage scheme and €4.8 million for the Kinvara sewerage scheme.