Sewer Gas Emanated From Liberty Square, Thurles, During Recent Music Festival.

Sewer gas is a by-product of the breakdown of natural human waste. Same substance comprises of a mixture of gases, including Hydrogen sulphide, Ammonia, Methane and Carbon dioxide.

The hydrogen sulphide in sewer gas is what gives it its signature rotten egg stench, which currently is being experienced by Thurles residents, following the recent upgrading of Liberty Square in the town.

Possibly the worst stench is located east of the Liberty Square, close to a primary School, but nevertheless emanates from several manhole covers in the area, depending on the prevailing wind.

During last weekend’s Musical Festival, the matter was drawn to the attention of Festival Chairperson and local Councillor Mr Jim Ryan, who admitted that the matter required serious attention.

High level exposure to sewer gas can cause symptoms of ‘sewer gas poisoning’. There are numerous possible causes for sewer gas smell, 90% of which are the result of improperly placed or damaged drainage pipes.

Sewer gas can leak into buildings when plumbing vents are: (1) installed too close to a window or door; (2) through cracks in the foundation of buildings; (3) clogged up or collapsed drains or (4) air intake vents due to sewer gas building up in other nearby sewer pipes.

As we are all aware, sewer drains are responsible for the transportation of toxic waste and if drains are clogged from items that should NOT have been flushed, same can cause a sewage backup. If this backup is not treated, the content in clogged pipes will continue to decompose, thus leaking sewer gas back into homes and business premises.
Water movement through sewer systems in Liberty Square, latter which normally helps to provide a barrier against potentially harmful gases, does not seem to be functioning at present.

Sewer gas is a complex mixture of various gases and compounds, some of which can be toxic to humans, and while same is not dangerous in small amounts, these compounds can contribute to sewer gas toxicity at high levels.

Hydrogen sulphide, the primary gas in sewer gas, is toxic to the oxygen systems in the body. In high amounts it can cause adverse symptoms, organ damage, leading often to death.

Ammonia, remains a well-known compound used in many cleaning products. Exposure to this latter substance can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. At high levels, ammonia is toxic to humans and again it can cause organ damage.

Methane and Carbon dioxide are both comparatively non-toxic greenhouse gases. However, in large amounts, methane gas mixed with air is extremely flammable and therefore becomes a fire hazard and can be easily ignited by sparks induced by minor frictional impact.

In industrial workplaces and confined room areas, high levels of sewer gas can cause fatigue, headaches, vomiting, dizziness or light-headedness, poor memory and concentration, a loss of smell, dry mouth, throat or lung irritation, eye irritation or contagious conjunctivitis and even seizures.

Time for Tipperary Co. Council officials & local Councillors to now get this Liberty Square issue immediately sorted out, before the area becomes totally uninhabited.


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