Coveted Blue Flag will now be reinstated following investment works on new plant

Irish Water and Donegal County Council are delighted to confirm that following on from Irish Water’s €9 million investment in a new wastewater treatment plant for Bundoran in 2018, the local bathing water quality is once again classified as ‘excellent’ and the coveted Blue Flag will now be reinstated. An Taisce announced the winners of the International Blue Flag today and Irish Water is delighted to see that Bundoran is once again on the list.

Bundoran is on a winning streak this season with the announcement of its Blue Flag win. In addition to winning back its Blue Flag today, the EPA confirmed improved ‘excellent’ water quality in Bundoran in its recent annual Bathing Water Quality in Ireland, a report for the year 2019. In other good news Bundoran was awarded a silver medal in the inaugural Blue Flag International Best Practice Awards, which will add to its tourist appeal and is great recognition for a lot of hard work done by Clean Coasts and the local community.

What was involved?

In 2018 Irish Water completed the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Bundoran, upgrade of an associated pumping station, construction of a new storm water storage tank and approximately 2.2km of new sewer network. The €9 million investment stopped the discharge of over 9,600 wheelie bins of raw sewage into the sea every day. As a result of this investment the new Bundoran Wastewater Treatment Plant is fully compliant with EU Urban Wastewater Directives, and as reported by the EPA the local water quality in the area has improved.

Commenting on the new plant in Donegal, Paul Fallon Irish Water, said “We are delighted that that Bundoran has regained its Blue Flag today and that the bathing water has improved from ‘good’ quality in 2018 to ‘excellent’ quality in 2019 as published in the recent EPA’s Bathing Water Report. The construction and operation of the new wastewater treatment plant in Bundoran has resulted in the cessation of approximately 9,600 wheelie bins of raw sewage discharging into the sea every day. The result of this project is that the wastewater treated at the Bundoran plant is now returned to the natural environment in compliance with EU Urban Wastewater Directives.

Paul added “While we are delighted with the Blue Flag win and EPA Report confirming that the bathing water in Bundoran has improved and is now classified as ‘excellent’ we are also asking for the public’s continued help in protecting the new improved wastewater treatment plant. We are asking the public to ‘Think Before You Flush’; think about the link between what you flush down the toilet, the successful operation of wastewater treatment plants as well as the quality of the natural environment which receives back the treated wastewater. Items like wet wipes, nappies, latex gloves and cotton buds can prevent the wastewater network from working efficiently, as well as damaging the plumbing in our homes and causing blockages in our wastewater treatment plants. Placing a bin in the bathroom and disposing of sanitary items safely will help to prevent these unsightly items from polluting our beaches and river ways.”

Think Before You Flush

Elaine Doyle, Clean Coasts Campaigns Officer added “Sewage related litter such as wipes are the type of waste we often find during our beach cleans. This waste is flushed down the toilet and may make its way through the wastewater infrastructure into the waterways and on to the beaches as marine litter. Through the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign we are working with Irish Water to change the nation’s flushing behaviour. Our message is simply think before you flush and never flush waste such as wipes down the toilet, just throw them in the bin.

“The ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign is in it's 4th year and every year we work with a number of regional communities. This year we are delighted to work with communities in Bundoran. In fact Bundoran is also celebrating the return of its Blue Flag and a silver medal win in the inaugural Blue Flag International Best Practice Award for their work as a Think Before You Flush town. We hope the improvements associated with the investment from Irish Water and the hard work from the Bundoran community will continue to result in improved water quality in Bundoran and the reduction in sewage related litter in the waterways and along the beautiful beaches of the Donegal coastline.”

Investment plan

This project forms part of Irish Water’s investment plan. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in Irish Water’s Business Plan. Delivery of the business plan will involve a €5.5 billion investment in capital spending on drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure up to 2021. These works are vital to ensuring a clean, safe and reliable public water supply and fit for purpose wastewater system to support our growing population and economy.

More information

For more on wastewater treatment plant works in Donegal and your local area visit our Projects and Plans section.

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