Invitation to view complex process involved to ensure public health is maintained

Irish Water hosted a tour of two new wastewater treatment plants and an existing water treatment recently for the members of the Glenties Municipal District as well as local TDs in Co. Donegal.

Following a briefing to councillors at the Glenties Municipal District meeting, Irish Water extended an invitation to the elected representatives to view first-hand the complex procedures involved in treating water and wastewater.

The sites which were visited included the newly constructed Glenties and Dungloe Wastewater Treatment Plants and the operational Lettermacaward Water Treatment Plant.

Speaking after the visits Irish Water’s Regional Communications Specialist Sean Corrigan said “We are grateful to the elected reps for taking time out of their busy schedules and coming along to view first-hand the complex processes involved in treating water and wastewater. Irish Water is investing heavily in both water and wastewater treatment plants in Co. Donegal and it is great to get the opportunity to demonstrate to the local politicians where the money is being spent."

Irish Water has invested a combined €7.2 million in new treatment plants at both Glenties and Dungloe to replace the old septic tank systems with modern treatment plants to serve over 1,000 households. The new plants will ensure treated effluent meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and will also allow for future population growth and economic development in both areas.

Glenties is now operational while the Dungloe plant is still in the testing phase post construction but is currently treating sewage from the town.

Irish Water’s Water Operation’s Lead for Co. Donegal, Laurence Nash, commented following the tour “We were able to show the elected representatives just how complex the treatment processes are for both water and wastewater. In the Lettermacaward water treatment process for example we showed the group the raw water quality coming into the plant and the turbidity and floating solids contained within the water. We then looked at the water post sedimentation and compared it with the final treated water post filtration. The group were impressed at the noticeable difference between raw water entering the plant and fully treated clean drinking water at the end of the process, ready for delivery to local homes and businesses.”

Adding to this, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey, added “It was great that the local councillors had the opportunity to visit these three treatment plants. It was a very useful exercise in learning about the intricacies involved in treating water and wastewater. Before the last Glenties Municipal District Meeting the members received a detailed update from Irish Water on all the works taking place in and planned for this area. We then visited the Glenties wastewater treatment plant which is now operational and meeting all regulations. Following this we went to the Lettermacaward water treatment plant and it was great to learn that there are further works planned for this plant which will increase capacity. We then visited the new Dungloe wastewater treatment plant which is still in the commissioning phase but will bring great benefits to the Dungloe and surrounding areas.”

Irish Water has committed to investing €73 million in water supply projects in Co. Donegal over the next four years which will directly benefit 90,000 people. Working with Donegal County Council, delivering this much needed investment will resolve the serious deficiencies that exist in water infrastructure in the County, and rationalise the water supply infrastructure across the county. The building of four new treatment plants and upgrades to the existing plants will facilitate the decommissioning of a number of smaller underperforming plants and the removal of the 12 schemes from the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL).

As outlined in the Irish Water Business Plan, the utility has earmarked almost €2 billion to improve wastewater quality and capacity up to 2021. Approximately €70 million of this is due to be spent on wastewater infrastructure in Donegal. Irish Water is investing €18.4 million alone in wastewater infrastructure in the Donegal towns of Killybegs, Bundoran, Glencolumbkille and Convoy. Killybegs and Bundoran are two of 43 towns in Ireland where untreated sewage is being discharged directly into the sea.


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