Major upgrade project continues for Dublin’s Georgian sewers

23 February 2022

Irish Water, working in partnership with Dublin City Council, is renovating and upgrading the Capital City’s underground sewer network, the oldest in the country, some of which dates back to Georgian times and beyond.

These large, egg-shaped, brick tunnels represent the backbone of Dublin City Centre’s wastewater network, conveying the waste of thousands of Dubliners to Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant where it’s treated and safely returned to the environment. Having been constructed by hand over 150 years ago, much of this sewer network has fallen into disrepair and is collapsing due to its age, decades of under-investment and limited maintenance. This upgrade project will ensure 2km of the most damaged sewers are rehabilitated and reinforced, and continue to meet the demands of a growing population.

The works, which will begin below ground in the coming weeks, will address a wide range of issues including sewer collapses and blockages, foul odours, sewer flooding in business premises, and long term disruption to road users as a result of ongoing maintenance. The works will take place in the following areas of the City: Dorset St, Wellington Street, Eccles Street, Saint Joseph’s Parade, Saint Joseph’s Place, Saint Augustine Street, Mount Street Crescent, Herbert Lane, South Great George Street, Fade Street, and Stephen Street Upper. GMC Utilities Group Ltd, who are specialists in brick sewer rehabilitation, have been contracted to carry out the project on behalf of Irish Water which is expected to take six months to complete.  

Commenting on the project Mark O’Duffy, Regional Delivery Lead with Irish Water, said “This is an essential and badly needed project for Dublin City. Underneath these streets is a substantial network of large brick sewers, some of which are over 150 years old. Their engineering is incredible, but climate change and population growth are putting huge pressures on this ageing network.  

These sewers collect the waste of thousands of Dubliners so we need to make sure they continue providing this vital service for at least another 100 years. We are delighted to have GMC Utilities Group Ltd on board who are very experienced and passionate about this type of work, having recently completed similar projects on behalf of Irish Water in Galway and Limerick

A significant amount of enabling works have already been undertaken including CCTV surveys to assess the condition of the sewers as well as extensive cleaning and removal of large amounts of debris and stone blockages from collapses. The next phase of works will involve structural repairs to the original brick culverts and the construction of man-entry access shafts which will allow future access without disruption. Crews will make every effort to minimise the impact of these works on the local community. The relining of existing sewers will be done using trenchless technology, meaning construction will take place almost entirely underground without the need for tunnelling or excavation.

Our customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and customers can also contact us on Twitter @IWCare with any queries. For updates, visit the Supply and Service Updates section of our website.

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.