Crews working towards ending the discharge of raw sewage in County Cork

29 November 2022

Uisce Éireann has reached another milestone on the road to ending the discharge of raw sewage in County Cork with the completion of Castletownbere Sewerage Scheme. 

Since 2014, Uisce Éireann has ended the discharge of over 60% of all untreated sewage in Ireland, with the completion of new wastewater treatment plants and network infrastructure in 21 towns across the country. We are prioritising areas where the biggest impacts can be made first, with an investment of over €750 million dedicated nationally to ending this unacceptable practice and safeguarding our environment. We are on track to eliminate the vast majority of raw sewage discharges by the end of 2025, ensuring wastewater is adequately treated and meets appropriate standards before being safely discharged into the marine environment. 

In Cork, Uisce Éireann has just completed the Castletownbere Sewerage Scheme and is progressing with four further wastewater projects across the county, providing new wastewater infrastructure for a population equivalent of over 6,500. The Castletownbere works began in early 2021 and sought to end the discharge of raw sewage into Bantry Bay. These works finished ahead of schedule providing wastewater treatment for a population equivalent of over 2,100 people. 

Speaking about the progress Uisce Éireann is making on ending the discharge of raw sewage in Cork, Anthony Kavanagh of Uisce Éireann said,

Communities in Cork continue to benefit from Uisce Éireann’s progress in improving wastewater treatment, resulting in a cleaner environment, enhanced water quality and greater capacity to support growth and development. One of five such recent projects is now complete in Castletownbere – ending the equivalent of over 1,700 wheelie bins of raw sewage being discharged into Bantry Bay per day."

We are also progressing with major wastewater projects in Inchigeelagh, Whitegate-Aghada, Castletownshend and Ballycotton. These projects involve a multi-million investment in critical infrastructure for Co. Cork. When completed, all projects will improve water quality in respective receiving waters, safeguard the environment, enhance tourism and sport for the likes of swimming and surfing, and support the future development of local communities." 

In 2021, Uisce Éireann invested €367 million in Ireland’s wastewater – the highest ever in a single year – and we are on track to increase that further over the coming years as we strive to deliver first-rate wastewater services and infrastructure for Ireland now and in the future."

Developing new infrastructure in well-established towns and villages is a challenge in terms of acquiring the land needed to build the new plants as well as progressing the projects through the planning process. We are delighted that we can work with our contractor, Glan Agua, through the Early Contractor Involvement framework. This innovative framework is a delivery mechanism for various water and wastewater projects nationally and encourages early engagement and collaboration. This allows contractors to come on board much earlier in the delivery process, resulting in greater scope for collaboration, innovation in design and construction, and improved efficiencies and timelines. I want to thank the local communities in Cork, Glen Agua, and our colleagues in Cork County Council for all working together to deliver these vital projects.”

Uisce Éireann is committed to eliminating raw sewage, providing a safe and reliable water supply, tackling leakage, protecting the environment and supporting the growth of homes and businesses. Uisce Éireann optimises investment decisions by prioritising the best possible service improvements, while maximising value-for-money.