Significant milestone underway in Athlone with €114 million wastewater project charging ahead

19 September 2023

Upgrade to Athlone’s wastewater collection system will facilitate sustainable growth and development

The beautiful lake county of Westmeath is the place that more than 95,000 people proudly call home. Over 250,000 visitors from home and abroad visit the county annually for boating adventures along the River Shannon, and to experience the rich cultural heritage of Athlone, which sits proudly in the heart of Ireland.

Ever since the sod was turned in April of this year, the €114m landmark project to upgrade Athlone’s wastewater collection system is progressing full steam ahead. The scheme is pivotal to meeting the growing needs of homes and businesses, while providing capacity for current and future growth and development.

Currently, there are 18 storm water overflow outlets within the Athlone Town main drainage system with frequent sewer flooding in the town due to insufficient capacity in the sewer network. Once completed the new scheme will enhance the environment, especially the water quality in the River Shannon and significantly reduce the risk of sewer flooding to homes and businesses.

Tunnelling works have now commenced, involving the installation of an additional 2.8km of new sewers to convey wastewater from homes and businesses to the wastewater treatment plant, where it will be treated to a high standard before being safely discharged into the environment.

The new pipeline is being installed using a technique called micro-tunnelling utilising a specialised Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). This will minimise disruption to the local community, as a significant proportion of the construction will take place underground without the need for open-cut excavation.

Commenting on the importance of the project, Eunan Canavan, Portfolio Manager at Uisce Éireann, said: “This is a landmark project for Athlone and its surrounding communities, and we are looking forward to delivering it on their behalf."

The project itself is one of the largest capital investments by Uisce Éireann to date and will bring numerous benefits to the local community and environment. It is a massive undertaking for us and our delivery partners, and today marks another major milestone as tunnelling works are now underway, which takes us one step closer to ensuring that wastewater is adequately treated and meets appropriate standards before being safely discharged to the environment.”

Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Liam McDaniel added: “I am delighted to see the significant progress made to date with this essential investment for Athlone which is fundamental to the growth of our area. The provision of adequate wastewater infrastructure, not only for our existing population but for our future growth, is vital so that we are ready to meet the opportunities of the coming years. I would like to thank Uisce Éireann and Westmeath County Council and commend them for their hard work, 24/7, to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services.”

Uisce Éireann will continue to engage with the local community throughout the duration of the project. For more information on this project, visit the Dedicated Project page.

Uisce Éireann is responsible for delivering public drinking water and wastewater services for the people of Ireland. We are committed to enabling communities to thrive by continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support sustainable growth and development, providing safe drinking water, and enhancing the environment. To find out more visit our website.