Landmark Uisce Éireann wastewater project to commence in Athlone

12 January 2023

Athlone is set to benefit from one of the largest capital investments by Uisce Éireann to date with a landmark project to upgrade the town’s wastewater infrastructure which is set to begin in the coming weeks. The €114 million project will safeguard the environment, enhance water quality in the River Shannon, and enable future growth and development. The project will also improve the capacity and operational performance of the existing sewers, significantly reducing the risk of sewer flooding to homes and businesses.

With its location in the heart of Ireland, Athlone has always been inextricably linked with the river, and this project will bring huge benefits not only for the environment but also for the local community by supporting future growth and development in the town.

The Athlone Main Drainage Project involves the construction of new pumping stations at Golden Island and Coosan West, and almost 3km of new sewers. The existing under-performing pumping stations and pipework will be decommissioned. Combined sewer overflows will be eliminated at six locations along the River Shannon and will be replaced by two new stormwater overflows designed to meet current licensing standards, improving water quality and safeguarding the environment.

This project represents a further step in the continued delivery of improvements to the wastewater infrastructure in Athlone, having already invested a further €5.6m to upgrade the Athlone Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Commenting on the project Eunan Canavan, Regional Infrastructure Delivery Lead at Uisce Éireann, said: “We are looking forward to delivering this important project on behalf of the local community in Athlone.

“This project will enhance the local environment by alleviating sewer flooding and improving water quality in the Shannon for angling, water sports and marine life.

“It will also ensure that the wastewater infrastructure meets the needs of homes and businesses while providing capacity for current and future growth and development.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD welcomed the announcement this week. He said: “I am delighted to welcome the start of this Uisce Éireann project to significantly improve water quality in the River Shannon. It will reduce flooding, protect our environment and crucially, will provide the capacity we need for more homes and development in the region.

The River Shannon is a designated Nutrient Sensitive Area (NSA) and Athlone town is one of the locations cited in a European Court Judgement Case against the State for failure to comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) regarding the discharge of untreated stormwater into sensitive areas. The Athlone Main Drainage Project will not only ensure compliance with the UWWTD and the EPA Wastewater Discharge Licence, but will safeguard the River Shannon and local environment for current and future generations.

Works will take place at a number of locations across Athlone including Golden Island, West Bank (The Quay), West Side, Abbey Road, Coosan West, The Strand, Burgess Park, Payne’s Lane, and two separate tunnelled crossings under the River Shannon. Crews will make every effort to minimise the impact of these works on the local community and where possible, the new sewers will be installed using trenchless technology, meaning that a significant proportion of the construction will take place underground without the need for open-cut excavation. The project will be carried out on behalf of Uisce Éireann by Ward and Burke Construction Ltd and is expected to be completed in late 2025.

Uisce Éireann will continue to engage with the local community throughout the duration of the project. For more information on this project, visit our Athlone Main Drainage Scheme project page.

Uisce Éireann 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.