23 October 2018 Go back to News
Impact of Galway wastewater treatment investment being felt in the community
Irish Water has upgraded or built new wastewater treatment plants in 55 locations across the country
The positive impact of Irish Water’s investment in wastewater treatment is being felt by communities across the country including in County Galway as new wastewater treatment plants are built and more are being upgraded. We are on track to deliver on our approved investment plans which will result in no areas in 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. These new and upgraded plants have improved the environment, supported tourism and in many cases built capacity for new homes and businesses.
Ensuring wastewater no longer contributes to poor bathing water quality
At Ballyloughane Beach in Galway City, we have completed the remedial works necessary to ensure wastewater no longer contributes to poor bathing water quality at this beach. Also in Galway, there is a new wastewater treatment plant in Kinvara, Claregalway and Milltown, and new treatment plants are in the planning and design stage in Spiddal, Carraroe, Aghascragh, Roundstone and Glenamaddy.
The EPA’s annual Urban Wastewater Treatment Report points to the progress made by Irish Water in 2017. The utility increased expenditure by 25% to €215 million last year to ensure the development and delivery of solutions to support the safe return of wastewater to the environment from almost 1.1 million homes throughout Ireland after it has travelled through 30,000 kilometres of public sewers and been treated at 1,100 wastewater treatment plants.
Many wastewater projects currently in the design and planning stage
Irish Water is increasing investment in wastewater infrastructure year on year and has planned to increase spending on wastewater projects in the existing Capital Investment Plan. Many of 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.
We are fully committed to meeting the timescales associated with the European Court of Justice Urban Wastewater Treatment Case. Since 2016 we have completed works at 16 locations ensuring compliance with European standards under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. Irish Water has corrective actions in place for 28 sites that failed in 2017.
Operating wastewater treatment plants to the highest standard
In 12 towns around the country where raw sewage was going directly into the water, new wastewater plants have been constructed. There are plans progressing for an additional 38 locations.
Irish Water in conjunction with the local authorities is continuing to roll out standard operating procedures for wastewater treatment plants to ensure that they are operated to the highest standards possible.
Speaking about the progress made by Irish Water, Regional Spokesperson Sean Corrigan said:
“In total since 2014 Irish Water has upgraded or built new wastewater treatment plants in 55 locations across the country. In Galway, there are new wastewater treatments plant in Kinvara, Claregalway and Milltown and new treatment plants are in the planning and design stage in Spiddal, Carraroe, Aghascragh, Roundstone and Glenamaddy. These new treatment plants, once constructed will improve the environment, supporting tourism and in many cases build capacity for new homes and businesses.
“Irish Water has to focus investment in wastewater and does so by prioritising, firstly those locations that are not compliant with European Standards under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and by then focusing on those locations with no treatment of raw sewage and also those other locations where we need to improve existing treatment.
“In some cases, progress has been slower than we would like due to complex conditions, planning and other issues, but Irish Water has a plan for every area. The Clifden network was upgraded in 2014, and in 2015 a new wastewater treatment plant with UV treatment was completed. Despite this, issues were identified with the storm water overflows from the plant and network.
“Irish Water has commenced an assessment of the treatment plant and network to identify if further improvements are required, to optimise the treatment of the hydraulic load coming to the plant. This investigation is ongoing and includes CCTV surveys of the network. The survey works will recommend additional corrective actions, such as sewer rehabilitation that could improve the discharges, and bathing water quality.
“In 2018 Clifden bathing waters had 6 excellent results, and 1 each for good, sufficient and poor. It is noted that untreated discharges are not the only contributing factor to bathing water quality at Clifden.
“The size and scale of the challenge we have faced over the past four years has been considerable, but the expertise and capability of Irish Water and local authority engineers and other staff has meant that we have developed solutions and plans to support the safe return of wastewater to the environment from almost 1.1 million homes throughout Ireland after it has travelled through 30,000 kilometres of public sewers and been treated at 1,100 wastewater treatment plants.”
For more information on our projects, please visit our Projects and Plans page.