Saturday 19 October 2019

Irish Water will use ultraviolet light to disinfect waste at €500m treatment system in Dublin

. (Stock photo)
. (Stock photo)
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

IRISH Water will use ultraviolet light to disinfect waste at its proposed €500m treatment system in north Dublin.

Senior waste consultant Ciarán O'Keeffe, said the decision to apply a tertiary treatment to human waste at the planned facility in Clonshaugh came after concerns were raised by objectors to the controversial project, including fisherman.

He said marine ecologist Marja Aberson had carried out an analysis and advised "as an abundance of caution" to ensure the protection of shellfish, additional treatment should be applied to effluent at the plant.

"Irish Water has determined that it will apply UV treatment to all effluent discharges. The utilisation of UV does not require any additional structures or changes to planned structures," he said yesterday at the first day of an oral hearing into the development.

Mr O'Keeffe told the hearing the facility would not negatively impact on bathing waters.

"The proposed project will have a negligible impact on the quality of coastal waters off county Dublin," he said.

He said a pumping station proposed at Abbotstown, near St Francis Hospice, will have a special design as the hospice is a timber and brick building "embracing nature" through large glass windows.

"The planning and architectural response to this will be to design a modern interpretation of a timber Victorian garden gazebo, set in a carefully designed landscape," he said.

The announcement about the use of ultraviolet treatment was welcomed by the Green Party, which had raised objections.

"This is something which local people, fishermen, swimmers and divers have all been looking for, to protect public health," a statement from councillor David Healy said.

However the councillor said he was still concerned at the location of the outfall from the plant, near Ireland's Eye, a Special Area of Conservation and intensively used for both fishing and recreational uses. 

The facility would take up 30 hectares at a green site in Clonshaugh, with a 13km underground orbital sewer from Blanchardstown to the plant and a 12km outfall pipeline to bring the treated wastewater from there to Baldoyle and out to sea for discharge around 1km north east of Ireland's Eye. 

Sean Laffey, head of asset management at the semi-state, said the infrastructure was necessary to allow for residential and commercial development in the region.

He referenced an ERSI estimated population growth of 450,000 in the greater Dublin area by the year 2040.

"Project Ireland 2040 projects that an additional 143,000 homes will be needed in Dublin by 2040," he said.

The proposal has been opposed by locals including farms and sea bathers, with some almost 14,000 objections raised.

The hearing, taking place at Dublin's Gresham Hotel, will take at least two weeks.

Evidence was presented to the hearing by Alan Barry, an environmental engineer, who created models of the facility's affects on the water quality in Dublin Bay.

His models suggested there would be no failures to comply with regulations on water safety in bathing areas or any affect on the blue flag beaches in the area, which have an 'excellent' water quality rating.

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