26 February 2019 Go back to News
Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant issue
Irish Water can confirm that there was a failure at one of the tanks at Ringsend wastewater treatment plant on the morning of Saturday 23 February, 2019 which caused a discharge of activated sludge into the Lower Liffey estuary via an outfall located approximately 1km from the plant. The discharge occurred for approximately 20 minutes and it is estimated that 100 cubic metres of activated sludge was discharged. It should be noted that this discharge was not raw sewage and does not pose the same risk to public health or the environment as a raw sewage discharge would. The tank was isolated and repairs are now progressing. Irish Water would like to apologise for the discharge which we acknowledge was unsightly and which is not to the standards we set ourselves.
Irish Water has standard protocols in place when incidents of this nature occur and incidents are escalated on the basis of the potential impact to human health and the environment. Statutory stakeholders are notified in line with protocols and we can confirm that the EPA carried out an audit of the site today.
Currently the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant treats approximately 40% of the country’s wastewater load. Due to ongoing overloading of the wastewater treatment plant, the discharge from the treatment plant does not comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment requirements as the treated effluent discharging from the plant has higher amount of solids than is optimal and this could give rise to a coloured plume in the water. In order to treat the increasing volumes of wastewater arriving at the plant to the required standard and capacity, Irish Water is investing over €400 million in the staged upgrading of Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant to increase wastewater treatment capacity to cater for an additional 400,000 population equivalent.
Work on the upgrade started in February 2018 and in June 2018, Irish Water submitted an application for strategic infrastructure development to An Bord Pleanála to further progress the upgrade of the Plant utilising Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) technology to enable future population growth and ensure that the plant operates to the highest possible environmental standards. Irish Water is committed to safeguarding the environment and ensuring all wastewater is correctly treated and is safely returned to rivers, lakes and sea.
Irish Water can confirm that there are currently no planned discharges of untreated effluent into Dublin Bay from Ringsend Wastewater treatment Plant. Investigations into this matter are ongoing and a further update on request will be provided once available.