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Sewage crisis stalls opening of €380m Convention centre

SEWAGE at the Convention Centre in Dublin may be shipped out in 'giant milk tanker' style trucks as the development does not have the facilities required for the opening in September.

Fears are growing that the necessary waste removal facilities will not be in place for the opening of the base for international meetings and delegations in less than two months.

The developers behind the centre in the docklands, Treasury Holdings, signed a €380m public private partnership with Dublin City Council to build and operate the centre for 25 years.


The Council agreed to grant a licence to provide temporary sewerage facilities, pending the completion of a special pumping station to be built by the Spencer Dock Development Company within 15 months.

The pumping station, which was part of the planning permission granted by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) in 2002, was due to be part of an apartment development that is not yet going ahead.

But construction of this pumping station to remove about 600 litres of sewage per second has yet to begin and the licence for the temporary facilities expires at the end of this month.

Local councillor Kevin Humphries, who is a member of the advisory council of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, said that an interim basic solution would be to ship the waste down to the centre at Ringsend.

"This could be done in tankers, like giant milk tankers," he said. "But the City Council couldn't continue to allow it (the Convention Centre) to pump into facilities which are already over capacity."

The Labour councillor said that the delay in the project could endanger millions of euro in revenue for the capital and any temporary measures could place a serious strain on the already stretched sewerage system in Dublin.

"We need to move speedily on how to put the pumping system in place without endangering the water system of the Dublin Bay area.

"We can't have a situation where the heavy rain of the last few days could cause the overflow of sewerage."

It's understood that the delay in building the station is due to a dispute over planning issues between Treasury Holdings and the DDDA.

Treasury Holdings said that it would construct the sewage pumping station as soon as it received approval from the authority. However, the authority said it was carrying out the necessary procedures in order to process the application.

It's believed that Treasury Holdings could ultimately make a new application with Dublin City Council instead of the DDDA.


The largest event due to be staged at the Convention Centre, the International Bar Association conference with 4,500 legal delegates, is due to take place in October 2012.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin said that there would not be a delay in the opening of the centre.

"We've had nothing to indicate that any issue about a pumping station would interfere with the convention centre," she said.