Study of Ireland’s urban waste water infrastructure published

An extensive examination of Ireland's public waste-water infrastructure has found that Ireland is now well placed to refocus investment towards rehabilitation and reinforcement of the infrastructure.

The National Urban Waste Water Study, a two year investigation involving the collection, collation, mapping and analysis of urban drainage systems, including waste-water treatment facilities and an assessment of future waste water requirements, will be used to assist the evaluation of current strategies as well as support and inform determination of future priorities, policy developments and investment.

It identified a number of key concerns including the quality of available data, the need for additional survey work, requirements for upgrading to meet increased demand, restricted assimilative capacity and condition of receiving waters and the sampling of receiving waters.

Environment Minister Dick Roche welcomed the report, saying it would “underpin the strategic development of national waste water infrastructure.” He acknowledged the need for a comprehensive response to the issues raised and pointed out the progress made so far in providing waste water treatment facilities.

The current National Development Plan 2000 – 2006 provides for investment of €2.4billion in waste water infrastructure.

“We are well placed to meet the targets set in the European Union Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, having increased our compliance rate from 25% in 2000 to 90% at the end of 2004,” Minister Roche said.

The study was undertaken by a consortium including E.G Petit and Company, J.B Barry and Partners, White Young Green Ltd, and the Jacobs Babtie Group.

Following publication of this study Roche announced a major expansion of the Greater Dublin’s main drinking water source – the City Council’s Water Treatment Plant at Ballymore Eustace.

The €48 million expansion will include a new 56,500 cubic metre reservoir and laboratory, as well as a range of other new operational and treatment infrastructure.

“The expansion of the Ballymore Eustace Plant will increase current drinking water output from 274 megalitres per day to a daily maximum of 318 megalitres,” Minister Roche said.

Approval has also been given to Kerry County Council to place contracts for the construction of the Caherciveen Water Supply Scheme. The civil works, worth €3.92 million, will be carried out by Ward and Burke Ltd. Response Engineering Ltd will undertake the Mechanical and Electrical Works at a cost of €443,000.

By David Hopkins

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