Milestone project will end discharge of raw sewage from Liscannor

Works to end the long running practice of discharging raw sewage into Liscannor Bay are due to get underway in the coming months following the appointment of a contractor to construct a new wastewater treatment plant.

Irish Water, working in partnership with Clare County Council, is committed to eliminating the discharge of raw sewage into Liscannor Bay. The construction of the new wastewater treatment scheme will bring big benefits to the scenic West Clare village by improving water quality, protecting the local environment and supporting new homes and businesses.

Wastewater in the Liscannor area is currently treated by a septic tank system which discharges poorly treated effluent into the bay near Liscannor pier. This long-running practice has impacts on water quality, detracts from the amenity value of Liscannor and does not comply with EU regulations relating to the treatment of wastewater.

To address this, Irish Water is building a new wastewater treatment plant with capacity for a population of 1,150, along with approximately 1.2km of sewer pipelines, a pump station and a storm water storage tank. This will ensure that all wastewater from the village will be collected and treated before being returned safely to the environment.

Following the appointment of EPS as the contractor to carry out these works, it is expected that construction will get underway later this summer and take approximately 18 months to complete.

Caroline O’Reilly, Irish Water’s Programme Manager, said: “This is a major milestone for this project and for the village of Liscannor – one of the most popular destinations on the Wild Atlantic Way. The discharge of raw sewage into our precious marine environment is unacceptable and ending this practice is a top priority for Irish Water. The benefits of this work will be enormous – not only will it ensure cleaner water for swimmers, surfers and other recreational users, but it will also provide a platform for social and economic development in Liscannor.

The environmental benefits will also be significant, ensuring that wastewater is treated in a sustainable way and returned safety to the environment. Cleaner waters will protect marine life, support biodiversity and enhance the amenity value of the area.

Irish Water is on track to deliver a programme of unprecedented scale to stop the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated wastewater into our seas and rivers.  Since 2014, Irish Water has stopped approximately 50% of untreated and inadequately treated wastewater that was being discharged to our rivers and the sea, with the completion of new wastewater treatment plants in 16 towns across the country. Irish Water’s investment plan prioritises public health and safety by targeting locations where there is no treatment for raw sewage or where the treatment is not in compliance with the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

In Clare, new public sewerage schemes are currently planned for five locations where there is untreated wastewater being discharged; in addition to Liscannor these include Kilrush, Kilkee, Ballyvaughan, and Clarecastle.

Irish Water will work with the contractors to keep the local community informed as this essential project progresses and further details on the timelines shall be provided in the coming weeks and months.

We continue to work at this time with our Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services. Irish Water would like to remind people to follow the HSE COVID-19 advice and ensure frequent handwashing.

For further information, please contact the Project Team at clareuww@water.ie.