At the sod turning were Minister Sean Kyne, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council; Michael Connolly; Colm Boyd, Irish Water; Hildegard Naughten TD; Eamon O Cuiv TD; and local councillors.

New plant has increased capacity for a population of 2,400 and will support continued population and economic growth in the Gateway to Connemara
 
Irish Water today marked the official start of works on the €4.2 million Oughterard sewerage scheme which will increase the capacity of the current treatment process from a population equivalent of 500 to 2,400. Irish Water and Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, turned the sod at the site of the new treatment plant this morning.
 
The project includes the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant which will facilitate future growth in population and economic development in the area. It will also improve water quality in the Owenriff River and Lough Corrib, areas of ecological importance as one of the most important freshwater pearl mussel rivers in Ireland.
 
Speaking at today’s sod turning, Colm Boyd, Irish Water’s Wastewater Treatment Programmes Regional Lead, said: “The upgrading of the Oughterard Wastewater Treatment Plant will bring far reaching benefits to this thriving town located at the gateway to Connemara. The long overdue investment will result in the construction of a state of the art treatment plant which will facilitate future growth whilst protecting the environmentally sensitive receiving waters of the Owenriff River and Lough Corrib. The construction of a modern treatment plant which will treat wastewater to the highest standards is of vital importance in protecting and maintaining water quality for the benefit of the local community and the many tourists that visit the area.”
 
Galway based Glan Agua Limited are carrying out the works on behalf of Irish Water with the contract due to take 12 months to complete.
 
Minister Kyne, who turned the sod on the new wastewater treatment plant today added: “The construction of the Oughterard Sewerage Scheme is a hugely important milestone in the history of the town.  It allows Oughterard to develop and fulfil its role as a service centre and the Gateway to Connemara. “We have waited for decades for this day and as Minister I’m very pleased to have played a part in its delivery. “In the past couple of years the Government, through Irish Water has provided funding for Clifden Sewerage Scheme, Leenane Water Scheme, Carraroe Water Scheme  amongst others and now Oughterard Sewerage Scheme  - all of which had been badly needed for many years.”

The original wastewater treatment plant was constructed in the 1950s and upgraded to its current state in 1978 to cater for a population of 500. But the new facility, which will be built on a greenfield site adjacent to the existing plant, will cater for a population equivalent of 2,400.
 
This project will ensure that wastewater is treated and discharged in compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations 2001, and conditions as set out in the EPA’s Wastewater Discharge Licence.
 
Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Cllr Michael Connolly said today: “This €4.2 million investment for Oughterard is very welcome and will allow the wastewater to be discharged in a safe manner. Investments such as this are vital to ensure Co Galway can develop into the future.”
 
This project forms part of Irish Water’s investment plan where over €530 million will be invested in upgrading water services in 2016 to improve the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in Irish Water’s recently published Business Plan. Delivery of the business plan will involve a €5.5bn investment in capital spending on drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure up to 2021.
 
This investment can be clearly seen across Co Galway. In November 2015 Irish Water announced an investment of €36 million in water infrastructure and €58 million in wastewater infrastructure for Galway. The results of this wastewater investment can be seen in works carried out in Kinvara, Clifden, Mutton Island, Claregalway, Milltown and also in Oughterard.
 
€9.5 million alone has been invested in upgrading drinking water supplies in Leenane, Carraroe, Williamstown, Inis Oir and Inismean. 
 
Irish Water’s continuous investment in Co Galway has seen four supplies being removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Remedial Action List since August of this year. The four plants which were removed are Loughrea Lake Road, Loughrea Knockanima, Kilkerrin Moylough and Glenamaddy.
 
Works carried out by Irish Water over recent years and months has seen a vast improvement in the quality of drinking water being delivered to the public in Galway as acknowledged by the EPA in their latest publication.

Seven water supply schemes have had boil water notices lifted this year in Co Galway which means 22,834 people no longer have to boil their water before consumption. Those schemes are serving Williamstown, Loughrea, Leenane, Tír an Fhia, Ahascragh, Carraroe and Mid Galway. One scheme, serving 230 people in Kilconnell is still on a boil water notice. 
 
Further works are ongoing in Galway to extend the Tuam Regional Water Supply and investment in treatment plants in Portumna, Ballinasloe, Gort and Spiddal is also ongoing.
€15 million of the overall investment is water main rehabilitation including the replacement of 20 kilometres of defective water mains in Galway City and the upgrade of 19 kilometres of water mains in Carraroe, Loughrea, Spiddal and Inish Mor. 

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