Irish Water celebrates World Wetlands Day as new Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICW) Project in Lixnaw enters commissioning phase

02 February 2021

Irish Water is today celebrating World Wetlands Day with the completion of the construction phase of a new Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) project in Lixnaw. This innovative project will provide wastewater treatment for the village of Lixnaw and is now entering a commissioning phase for the next 12 months. The commissioning phase is required to allow the ICW system mature fully and for the plants and habitats within it to establish and function correctly.

An ICW is a sustainable, natural wastewater treatment system that is designed to look and function in a similar way to a natural wetland. It is an environmentally friendly way to treat wastewater that will result in reduced operational and maintenance costs, as well as biodiversity creation, while also reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The ICW will ensure wastewater is treated in compliance with the wastewater discharge regulations and boost the area by enhancing the amenity value of the local environment, protecting health and supporting economic and social development. Following the commissioning period, there will be an open public amenity area with walkways and information signs within the ICW site for public use. The ICW project will add biodiversity value to the area by providing a habitat for local wildlife while remaining sensitive to the existing landscape.

The ICW project is being delivered in partnership with Kerry County Council and through close collaboration with IE Consulting Ltd., VESI Environmental Ltd. and Healy Rae Plant Hire Ltd. who have constructed the ICW on behalf of Irish Water. Irish Water is investing €2 million project in this project.

Commenting on reaching the commissioning stage of the project on World Wetlands Day, Paul Cremin, Regional Delivery Lead with Irish Water said, “Construction works at the ICW in Lixnaw have been substantially complete since December and the project is now fully operational. A 12-month commissioning period is now required to allow for the ICW system to mature and the plants within it to establish. Regular inspections and maintenance will be required during this period by the project team and we are asking the public not to enter the ICW area during this essential commissioning phase.

Irish Water is proud to deliver such an innovative project in Lixnaw. ICW projects run at about 10% of the operational costs associated with a conventional WWTP and they do not require the addition of chemicals to treat wastewater. Another big benefit of ICW technology is carbon sequestration; over the lifespan of this project, its carbon footprint will be negative as the amount of carbon sequestered will be far greater than that used in the build.

Irish Water and Kerry County Council will operate and maintain Lixnaw ICW and are asking the local community to play their part by only flushing appropriate items into the toilet (for more information see the Think Before You Flush section of our website) and also not to access the ICW during the commissioning period to ensure that the wetlands have the opportunity to establish sufficiently and thereby operate correctly and as designed.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and continued support, as we complete this project. We have worked with the local community from the very early stages of this project and look forward to welcoming them to the ICW site once it’s complete,” Paul said.

Irish Water is confident that this project will bring significant benefits to the Lixnaw area for many years to come.

This project is being delivered as part of Irish Water’s investment plan. Irish Water’s investment plan prioritises key outcomes such as leakage, water supply zones removed from the EPA’s Remedial Action List, areas where there is raw sewage entering the rivers, lakes and the sea (untreated agglomerations), and areas identified by the European Court of Justice under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

Irish Water and our appointed Contractor, Healy Rae Plant Hire Ltd., will remain in contact with the local community during the commissioning phase and look forward to welcoming them to the ICW officially in the next year.