Irish Water and LYIT join forces for Engineers Week

10 March 2022

Irish Water and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) joined forces today to celebrate Engineers Week, hosting an event for third level students. The water-themed event was organised by Irish Water in partnership with LYIT to highlight the opportunities available to students within the utility and to discuss the integral role engineering and science plays in delivering water and wastewater services.

During today’s event, Irish Water engineers Kevin Love and Paul Kilcoyne spoke to students about how studying engineering opened doors for them, what their current roles involve as well as the vital role engineering plays in producing and treating water and wastewater.

Speaking at the event, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Wastewater Lead and Donegal native Paul Kilcoyne commented: “An engineering qualification can take you anywhere, both career wise and geographically. It opens doors to wonderful opportunities, exciting projects and a very promising career path to those who choose to study it. In Irish Water, our engineers ensure that water is safe to drink, and wastewater does not negatively impact on our environment. We are delighted to collaborate with LYIT on this event for Engineers Week and look forward to working with them again in the future.

I am proud to say Donegal has had one of the highest levels of investment of any county in Ireland, receiving almost €300 million on water and wastewater upgrades across the county since 2014. The investment in Donegal is continuing apace with priorities such as building new plants to eliminate raw sewage, upgrading existing treatment plants and driving down leakage. For example, fixing leaks can be complicated but we are making progress. In 2018 the rate of leakage nationally was 46%, by the end of 2021 it was reduced to 38%.  We are on track to achieve a national leakage rate of 32% by the end of 2024.

Noreen Durning a chartered engineer and lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at LYIT feels passionately about events that allow her students to hear from professionals and what it’s like to work in the areas they are now studying.

Noreen explains: “At LYIT we are always looking at providing practical and real industry training and presentations to our science, engineering, and technology students. We were delighted to collaborate again this year with Irish Water during Engineers Week and showcase the work being done in water and wastewater management.

Noreen continued: “Traditionally the water industry has relied on specialist engineers, biologists, chemist and microbiologists. However, with new and challenging legislation it has become increasingly necessary for such specialists to develop a broader understanding of the concepts of each other’s disciplines. Environmental engineering and environmental science are new hybrids of civil engineering and science respectively.

The benefit to having Irish Water, our national water utility present real and tangible examples to students on how water and wastewater services are provided and developing throughout Ireland cannot be underestimated. Allowing students to meet with Industry experts can be really inspirational discussing educational and career paths and recognising there are many roads to achieving your educational goals.

Noreen added: “Having students exposed to engineering and science experts such as Irish Water allows students to further understand the challenges in the industry, as well as progress being made to change the tide of underinvestment in the industry that is well documented. It is also great to hear the construction of two new wastewater treatment plants has started in Kilcar and Kerrykeel, eliminating the discharge of raw sewage to our local environment. Similarly, it is reassuring to know that €25 million will be invested in upgrading Lettermacaward and Killybegs Water Treatment Plants”.

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