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Sunday 17 December 2017

Wastewater plant set to get €300m revamp

Irish Water is planning a €300m upgrade of the country's biggest waste-water treatment plant. Photo: Eamonn Farrell
Irish Water is planning a €300m upgrade of the country's biggest waste-water treatment plant. Photo: Eamonn Farrell
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Irish Water is planning a €300m upgrade of the country's biggest waste-water treatment plant at Ringsend in Dublin.

The existing plant is designed to process wastewater from a population of 1.64 million, but is overloaded and currently treats the equivalent waste from more than 1.9 million people.

The upgrade was originally approved in 2012 and involved construction of a 9km sea outfall tunnel, which would pump the treated effluent into Dublin Bay, south of Howth.

However, the utility now proposes to use a treatment technology known as Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS), which would allow the discharge of treated wastewater to remain at its current location, eliminating the need for the tunnel.

The technology is already in use at two plants at Clonakilty and Carrigtwohill and will reduce the cost by €170m.

A spokesman said the expanded plant would provide enough capacity to meet the capital's needs for at least the next 20 years. It will also reduce operating costs by around 10-15pc, primarily through lower energy bills.

The Ringsend plant has been providing wastewater treatment since 1906. The existing plant was commissioned in 2003, and treats wastewater from the Greater Dublin area.

The upgrade, coupled with a new regional wastewater plant planned in north Dublin at Clonshaugh, will ensure that the city's growing population can be catered for. When complete, the plant will be capable of treating wastewater from a 2.1 million people. There will be an eight-week public consultation, before planning permission is sought later this year.

If approved, the bulk of the works will be completed by mid-2020.

Irish Independent

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