Irish Water welcomes Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, TD to landmark wastewater project in Arklow

11 April 2022

Irish Water recently welcomed Minister for Health, and local TD for Wicklow, Stephen Donnelly, to the site of the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant to see first-hand the progress being made on the landmark project that will provide wastewater treatment for the first time in Arklow.

When completed, the new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant will bring significant benefits to the area including environmental protection and improved water quality in the River Avoca for angling, water sports and marine life. It will also act as an enabler for housing and support economic growth and development in the town.

Speaking from the site, Minister Donnelly commented, “The Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant Project demonstrates how Irish Water is delivering infrastructure that is critical for our health, our communities and our economy. The provision of adequate wastewater treatment, in a manner that protects the natural environment and subsequently our health, is essential to the growth and development of this beautiful town.

I would like to commend Irish Water for progressing this vital project as part of its commitment to the people of Arklow and wish the project team well as they continue their important work on this much needed wastewater treatment plant.”   

The Minister, along with local councillors Pat Fitzgerald and Tommy Annesley, was updated on the significant amount of work already undertaken as part of the project as well as the works currently underway on the North and South Quays, which are progressing well and on schedule. The next phase of the project, which is due to begin in in the coming weeks, involves the installation of the new interceptor sewer pipelines along the North and South quays which will bring untreated wastewater to the new plant. To minimise the impact on the local community, the majority of this work will be carried out using modern trenchless technology (Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) pictured), meaning a lot of the construction will take place almost entirely underground without large open excavations.

Irish Water’s Michael Tinsley added, “The size and scale of the task to deliver efficient wastewater services for a modern, growing economy while safeguarding the environment shouldn’t be underestimated. We have made significant progress but there is work still to do as we continue to build world class wastewater infrastructure through our multi-billion programme of investment.

Arklow was one of 13 locations nationwide where Irish Water awarded contracts in 2021 to end the discharge of raw sewage. So far in 2022 we have awarded contracts for 2 additional locations with more to follow in the coming months. 60% of the raw sewage entering waterways in Ireland has now been eliminated and we are on track to fully removing the majority of raw sewage discharges by 2025.

"Finally, I would like to thank the people of Arklow for their continued cooperation and support as we continue to work together to deliver this vital project”.

The project, which represents an investment of €139 million, includes the development of a new, state of the art, wastewater treatment plant that has been designed to provide an ultimate treatment capacity for a PE (population equivalent) of up to 36,000, two interceptor sewer pipelines along the North and South Quays and a marine sea outfall pipe to safely discharge the treated wastewater effluent to the Irish Sea. The project is being delivered on behalf of Irish Water by engineering contractors Ward & Burke Water Ltd.  

Irish Water is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.