Irish Water identifies site for storing treated sewage sludge

Facility in north Co Dublin will store biosolids for use in soil conditioner and fertiliser

Irish Water said it is working to upgrade existing wastewater treatment plants and provide new facilities where necessary to meet the needs of the capital’s growing population.

Irish Water said it is working to upgrade existing wastewater treatment plants and provide new facilities where necessary to meet the needs of the capital’s growing population.

 

Irish Water has announced its “preferred site” for a large storage facility for treated sewage sludge, at Newtown/Kilshane, Co Dublin.

The new facility – on an industrial site owned by Fingal County Council – will have capacity to store 48,000 tonnes of biosolids produced mainly by an upgraded Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant on Poolbeg peninsula. It will also store material from other facilities in the region to be built under the Greater Dublin Drainage project.

Biosolids are produced during the wastewater treatment process. Processing of the waste residue results in a low odour, biologically-stable product that is not harmful to human health, according to Irish Water. When managed appropriately, they contain high levels of nutrients and are sustainably reused as a soil conditioner and fertiliser in agriculture and forestry in compliance with European and national regulations, according to Irish Water.

Because of their source, biosolids can only be applied to lands during the planting seasons in spring and autumn and are stored for the intervening periods.

Storage capacity

Due to population and economic growth, the quantity of biosolids produced in the greater Dublin region is expected to exceed the available storage capacity. Irish Water is working to upgrade existing wastewater treatment plants and provide new facilities where necessary to meet the needs of the capital’s growing population, it said.

Five potential sites in Dublin, Fingal and Meath were looked at and assessed based on of a range of environmental, economic, engineering, planning, and social criteria. The Newtown/Kilshane site was found to be more favourable for a majority of the criteria assessed including zoning (heavy industry); landscape and visual impact, noise, ecology, hydrology, distance from biosolids source (it is 18km from Ringsend), and capital and operating costs.

It will undergo further environmental studies and assessments as part of the preparation of a planning application for the project. A six-week consultation begins today and runs until October 10th.

Population growing

Irish Water project manager Donal O’Connor said: “The population of Dublin and the surrounding counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow is growing. So too is economic activity in this region. Having adequate wastewater treatment infrastructure in place is vital to support residential and commercial development and to protect the environment.”

He added: “Irish Water is focused on a strategic solution for greater Dublin to effectively and efficiently manage our wastewater treatment requirements. We are investing in the wastewater infrastructure across the region to meet the growing demand.”

Planning permission for the biosolids storage facility will be sought as part of applications for the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant and the proposed new regional wastewater treatment facility for north Dublin (the Greater Dublin Drainage project).