Ocean FM’s North West Today show visited the Foxes Den Water Treatment Plant outside Sligo town on Monday morning to discuss the importance of investment in water and wastewater infrastructure for economic and social development.

The two-hour show was hosted by Irish Water in partnership with Sligo BID, Sligo Chamber of Commerce, and Sligo County Council. 

Treatment plants in Sligo

Sligo has six water treatment plants across the county and is also supplemented with water from two Roscommon water schemes. Every day Irish Water and Sligo County Council deliver 28 million litres of water to homes and businesses across the county. This clean water is delivered to over 54,000 people and flows through 1,800km of pipes across the county. 

The programme looked at the complex process involved in making water safe to consume, why water needs to be treated, the regulations that must be adhered to and the bugs and parasites that can cause public health issues. Engineers and scientists from Irish Water were joined by their colleagues in Sligo County Council and Celtic Anglian, the company who operate the Foxes Den plant on behalf of Irish Water. 

What is involved?

In 2018 Irish Water working with Sligo County Council took 133 samples of the treated water going into the network to supply homes and businesses across the county. Since 2014 when Irish Water was established 29 water quality files opened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding water quality in Sligo have now been closed. Additionally, three Sligo water supplies have been removed from the EPA’s Remedial Action List (where the EPA require Irish Water to carry out remedial works on non-compliant water treatment systems) and two Boil Water Notices were lifted. 

Leakage was also discussed and the ways in which Irish Water are tackling the issue through its First Fix Free scheme, mains rehabilitation works, Find and Fix programme and the overall complexity of the leakage issue right across the country. In recent years 10.5km of water pipes were replaced in Sligo town with a further 16.5km replaced county wide. Lead pipes have also been removed from 120 dwellings across the county and replaced with safer plastic pipes.

Partnership was a central theme of the outside broadcast, predominantly the partnership that exists between Irish Water and Sligo County Council as well as the ongoing partnership between Irish Water, Sligo Chamber and Sligo BID. This was particularly strong and effective during the large infrastructure water and wastewater projects that were completed in Sligo town centre recently.

Anthony Skeffington, Irish Water’s Regional Asset Operations Manager commented: “I want to say a huge thanks to Gail McGibbon from Sligo BID; Conor McCarthy, President Sligo Chamber of Commerce; James Melvin, Senior Executive Engineer Sligo County Council; Ciaran McCausland, Celtic Anglian and the Irish Water engineers and scientists who participated in Monday’s live broadcast. 

From source to tap

“The show gave us the opportunity to tell the story of water, from source to tap. We demonstrated how and why water is treated, the complex processes involved, what can go wrong, the expertise involved and the stringent regulations that are set out by the EU and Irish law. We looked at leakage and the programmes that are in place to drive it down. We talked about wastewater and Clean Coast’s ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign which Irish Water is delighted to sponsor. We reiterated the importance of only flushing the three Ps down the toilet – pee, poo and paper and stressed once again the message that people should not flush wet wipes down the toilets. 

“We reminded listeners of the massive ongoing investment that Irish Water continues to put into Sligo in both water and wastewater upgrades and the show gave us a great platform to thank our customers for their continued cooperation and support as we invest in and upgrade their vital infrastructure.”

Scientists and engineers in attendance

The Irish Water engineers and scientists who participated in the show were Anthony Skeffington, Georgina O’Reilly, Mary O’Hara, Dave Murphy, and Paul Kilcoyne. The show was coordinated by Siobhan Sheil from Irish Water’s regional communications team. 

After the show, Irish Water along with Celtic Anglian Water who operate the water treatment plant on behalf of Irish Water gave a tour of the Foxes Den plant to the Industry Group of the Sligo Chamber of Commerce. Fifteen members of the group were shown the various water treatment stages in the plant and the processes were explained to them in detail.

More information

For further information on Irish Water’s ongoing investment in Co Sligo visit our Projects and Plans section and see all of our Sligo projects. Customers who wish to contact Irish Water can do so by calling our 24/7 Customer Care Helpline on callsave 1850 278 278 or check out local updates on twitter @IrishWater, @IWCare #IWSligo.


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