Irish Water today marked the start of construction of a new water treatment plant on Lough Guitane in Central Kerry with a sod-turning by Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, TD. The new water treatment plant is being built as part of a €30 million investment by Irish Water in the Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme. The investment is the largest Irish Water contract awarded this year. Over 62,000 people depend on the water supply scheme on a regular basis which feeds  9 water supply zones all of which are currently on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL) due to lack of adequate water treatment facilities. The works being carried out will result in the provision of robust water treatment facilities, which will ensure a safe and secure water supply for residents, industry, agriculture and tourism in the area. Glan Agua, are the appointed contractor carrying out the design and construction works on behalf of Irish Water, with engineering services provided by Nicholas O’ Dwyer and work to date completed by Kerry County Council.

The Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme currently abstracts raw water from Lough Guitane but does not have an effective treatment system that incorporates a cryptosporidium barrier. The €30 million investment will ensure that the required treatment processes are in place by December 2017 with full completion of the project by mid-2018. This will allow for the removal of over 62,000 people from the RAL.

Speaking at the sod-turning event, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, TD said, ‘This project has been in the pipeline for a number of decades and today I am delighted to be here to mark the start of construction for a new Water Treatment Plant for Kerry Central. The new plant will provide 51 million litres of water per day to the communities of Central Kerry including Tralee, Killarney, Castleisland and Castlemaine in addition to an extensive rural area across the county. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Irish Water and Kerry County Council for their work in bringing this much-needed project to fruition.’

Commenting on the project, Jerry Grant, Managing Director of Irish Water said, ‘This is one of many projects currently being progressed by Irish Water to address the inadequacies in water infrastructure across Ireland. Kerry is one of Ireland’s premier tourist destinations and every one of the 1.2 million tourists who come to enjoy the magnificence of this part of the world every year expect nothing less than a safe and reliable water supply. With this project, Irish Water will be able to ensure that they can enjoy their time here confident that the water supply is safe and secure.’

Mr. Grant added, ‘There are currently 119 water supplies affecting over 800,000 people registered as ‘’at risk’’ on the EPA’s RAL. 9 of those supplies affecting 62,000 people are supplied by the Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme. Due to investment by Irish Water, 57 at risk water supplies have been removed from the RAL since January 2014 and Irish Water is committed to removing a further 29 supplies by the end of 2016. The works to remove the 9 supplies in Kerry from the RAL will be completed by mid-2018. This prioritised programme of investment by Irish Water highlights the requirement for a national water utility to carry out the necessary improvements in water and wastewater infrastructure across the country which is in dire need of critical investment.’

Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Michael O’Shea has warmly welcomed the progress on the project, saying that the improved water supply will be of enormous benefit the county and the provision of a clean and safe drinking water supply to all those who live in and visit the county.

The new facility will provide 51 million litres of water per day to the communities which it serves. This is an absolutely essential investment for the benefit of the health and welfare of the people of County Kerry and I welcome Irish Water’s evident commitment to improving the standard of water supply infrastructure in the county,” he said.

Further to this investment in Kerry, Irish Water is also progressing with upgrades in the water supplies of Kenmare, Kilgarvan, Templenoe, Lauragh, Mountain Stage and addressing disinfection risks in other vulnerable treatment plants. Significant rehabilitation works in water mains are also progressing with over 40km of deficient pipes already replaced.

This project forms part of Irish Water’s investment plan where over €530 million will be invested in upgrading services in 2016 to improve the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure. The Irish Water Business Plan has earmarked almost €2 billion in improving wastewater quality and capacity up to 2021.

Full details on the Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme are available here.

Kerry

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