Irish Water approves upgrade of 21 waste water treatments plants

Majority of raw sewage discharges on track to be removed by end of 2025, utility says

Details of the current Irish Water capital investment plan is due to be published in the coming weeks.

Details of the current Irish Water capital investment plan is due to be published in the coming weeks.

 

Irish water has approved work to upgrade 21 wastewater treatments plants in a move the utility said will unlock growth and development in small towns and villages across the State.

The upgrade of small wastewater treatment plants follows repeated fines against the company for incidents involving sewage discharges in recent years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), raw sewage from more than 30 towns and villages continued to be discharged into nearby waters at the end of 2019.

The EPA has also been highly critical of Irish Water’s stewardship of drinking water facilities, notably those in Gorey, Co Wexford and at Ballymore Eustace in Co Kildare serving Dublin. Unsafe water was recently discharged from both plants which cover a population of almost one million people.

On Thursday, Irish Water’s head of asset management Sean Laffey said the 21 new works at wastewater treatment plans would underpin the Government’s Housing for All plans to allow expansion and development in small towns.

He said some €98 million had been allocated for the project.

The works include expansion of treatment plants or, in some cases, linking to bigger town services, such as linking sewers from Mountcharles in Co Donegal to Donegal Town.

The works at the 21 plants is however separate to Irish Water’s efforts to eliminate the discharge of raw sewage from some 31 urban wastewater treatment plants, which the EPA said were still in breach of EU standards at the end of 2019.

The locations include Dublin and Cork cities, as well as several large regional towns such as Arklow in Wicklow and Shannon in Clare.

Responding to questions about the untreated sewage outfalls an Irish Water spokesman said by the end of this year construction will have started in 14 locations, with a further eight projects due to get underway next year and the remaining nine from 2023 onwards.

This means that the majority of raw sewage discharges are on track to be removed by the end of 2025.

He said Arklow, in Co Wicklow had been approved for a new €100 million plant which was a “major achievement”.

More than 60percent of raw sewage discharges have been eliminated since 2015 - and replaced with treatment capacity for the equivalent of 120,000 people.

As a result, Irish Water said of the targeted investment in wastewater infrastructure, “communities around Ireland are now reaping the rewards of a cleaner environment, safer bathing waters and greater opportunities for the development of new homes, businesses and tourism.

“To date new wastewater treatment plants have been built in 17 locations where raw sewage had been discharged into the sea for decades.

“By the end of this year construction will have started in an additional 14 locations, with a further eight projects due to get underway next year and the remaining nine from 2023 onwards. This means that the majority of raw sewage discharges are on track to be removed by the end of 2025,” the spokesman said.

He added that details of the current Irish Water capital investment plan would be published in the coming weeks.

The full list of 21 plants be upgraded are as follows:

Ballinabrannagh, Carlow; Mullagh , Cavan; Ballineen/Enniskean, Cork; Belgooley, Cork; Ballinspittle, Cork; Castlemagnier, Cork; Mountcharles, Donegal; Timolin, Kildare; Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny; Hospital, Limerick; Killashee, Longford; Castlebellingham, Louth; Doogort, Mayo; Oram, Monaghan; Lecarrow, Roscommon; Mullaghmore, Sligo; Kilsheelan, Tipperary; Lisvarrinane, Tipperary; Lemybrien, Waterford; Wellingtonbridge, Wexford; Grahormac (Tagoat), Wexford.