Irish Water has declared its commitment to providing wastewater treatment systems in six areas of County Wexford by 2021 - Enniscorthy, Arthurstown, Ballyhack,Duncannon, Fethard-on-Sea and Kilmore Quay.
The upgrade of the wastewater infrastructure in these locations will help to improve water quality, enhance the attractiveness of the areas and promote economic development, according to Niall O' Riordan, Wastewater Infrastructure Lead.
The utility company said its ongoing investment in wastewater treatment is being felt by communities throughout the country including Wexford as new wastewater plants are built and more are upgraded.
In 2016, Irish Water invested €7.2 million in upgrading the Courtown Wastewater Treatment Plant, ensuring that treated effluent standards are met and maintained to ensure a high quality of water in Courtown's coastal areas. The increased capacity allows all wastewater from both the Courtown and Gorey catchment areas to be treated.
A €16.3 million project to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities in Enniscorthy started last year. It involves the expansion of the existing Enniscorthy wastewater treatment plant and the decommissioning of the existing Kilagoley plant along with extensive upgrade work to three pumping stations, the construction of a new foul sewer and sewer rehabilitation works.
The new plant will be fully operational by the middle of next year and will ensure that waste water from Enniscorthy is fully treated and is compliant with all licence requirements and environmental regulations before being discharged into the River Slaney, according to Mr. O' Riordan.
In partnership with Wexford County Council, Irish Water is also working to end the discharge of untreated wastewater to the Barrow/Nore/Suir Estuary. The building of a new wastewater treatment plant and associated network infrastructure in Arthurstown, is expected to be completed in 2021.
The new plant will stop the discharge of the equivalent of an estimated 1,500 wheelie bins of untreated wastewater and sewage in Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Duncannon per day.
Plans are also being put in place to construct new wastewater treatment plants in Fethard-on-Sea and Kilmore Quay before 2021.
Mr. O'Riordan said Irish Water is on track to deliver on approved investment plans which will result in no areas of the country having any form of untreated wastewater discharge by 2021.
Since 2014 Irish Water has upgraded or built new wastewater treatment plants in 55 locations across the country including 12 towns where raw sewage was going directly into the water.
Several wastewater projects are currently in the design and planning stage and expenditure during this stage is significantly lower than during construction.
Consequently there will be a large increase in wastewater expenditure over the next few years up to the end of 2021.
'In Wexford we are committed to providing appropriate wastewater treatment in six areas by 2021 - Enniscorthy, Arthurstown, Ballyhack Duncannon, Fethard-on-Sea and Kilmore Quay', said Mr. O'Riordan.
The upgrade of the wastewater infrastructure in these areas will help to improve water quality, enhance of the area's amenity value and will act as a platform for social and economic development', he added.