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PICS: Raw sewage flows onto the streets of Athlone as Shannon rises

NewsBy Sunday World
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie
Pictures from Athlone today via Independent.ie

Raw sewage is visible on the streets of Athlone as locals on the riverside had a close call with dirty flood waters last night.

One local described how he pumped up to 500 litres a minute of raw sewage from his garden after it seeped up from a man-hole in his patio yesterday evening.

The young man said he was in the sewage on his hands and knees in the garden trying to keep the pumps working and the dirty water from his back door.

The remnants of waste and toilet paper litter the Strand area of Athlone town this morning as locals continue to work on flood defences.

Several pumps are stationed around the town while thousands of sandbags line doorways and garden gates.

The River Shannon, which burst its banks yesterday evening, is now just five and six feet from some of the doorways on WolfeTone Terrace in the Strand area.

Locals have used boards and sandbags to create several walls of defence between the river wall and their front doors.

Independent Alliance councillor Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said the biggest threat to Athlone at the moment is the wind.

"We have all our defences in place and both the council and locals are continuing to work hard," he told Independent.ie.

"I am worried about the threat of sewage on the streets and I'm worried about the strength of walls that back onto Parnell Square but I must say the biggest threat at the moment now is the wind.

"We have our sandbags in place but if the wind disrupts that or brings the river in over it, we're in big trouble."

But the councillor is confident of the defences in place in the town centre and said he's hopeful the floodwaters will recede without major damage.

"I said if we can get through Wednesday night we can get through anything.

"We were all holding tough for last night and thankfully it passed and we made it through without damage done.

"We know the water well around here - we know they're saying Sunday or Monday for the water level peak but from what we can see so far, we're sure it'll be Saturday that the water will peak."

In the Deerpark area of Athlone, Irish Defence Forces are delivering sandbags to locals' doors.

The sandbags are being filled in the car park of a local supermarket before members of the Defence Forces deliver them to schools and homes.

There are two army trucks stationed in the Deerpark estate.

Some residents have created their own flood defences, with one homeowner using a tractor and a pump in his back garden to keep rising waters from his back door.

A nearby GAA pitch is currently under at least three feet of water.

Ireland's 'oldest bar' Sean's Bar is also successful so far in keeping rising waters from the nearby River Shannon at bay.

The Civil Defence are patrolling the River Shannon in the town centre and monitoring water levels.

The river is currently approximately six feet higher than its normal level.

Via Independent.ie/Denise Calnan