Irish Water working in partnership with Galway County Council has acquired the necessary lands and planning permission has been granted for the construction of two new wastewater treatment plants in Spiddal and Ahascragh. Works are scheduled to commence in late 2021.

Irish Water will now be preparing tender documents to move the projects closer to construction and end the discharge of raw sewage in these two areas. Irish Water is committed to ending the discharge of raw sewage into rivers, lakes and the sea and these two projects will go a long way to achieving that aim in Co Galway.

When built these two plants will improve water quality in the receiving waters; benefit the local communities, swimmers, surfers and tourists; safeguard human and environmental health; protect our marine life and ensure compliance with European regulatory standards.

Irish Water is also progressing plans to address the discharge of raw sewage in Carraroe and Roundstone.

This builds on the work already completed in Galway including the construction of new wastewater treatment plants in Kinvara, Athenry, Oughterard, Clifden, Claregalway, Milltown and Glenamaddy. A substantial upgrade of the Tuam plant has led to improved compliance and energy efficiencies. As well as all of this there have been other smaller upgrades and maintenance works carried out at plants across the county.

Commenting, Paul Fallon Irish Water said: “Irish Water is committed to ending the unacceptable practice of raw sewage discharges all across Ireland by constructing wastewater treatment plants and network infrastructure to ensure that wastewater is adequately treated and meets appropriate standards before being safely discharged into the marine environment.

“Since 2014, Irish Water has stopped the discharge of over half of all untreated sewage in Ireland, with the completion of new wastewater treatment plants in 16 towns across the country. This translates to stopping the discharge of untreated wastewater from 100,000 people.

“Developing new infrastructure in well-established towns and villages is a challenge in terms of acquiring the land needed to build the new plants as well as progressing the projects through the planning process. Developing these projects also takes time and a significant investment programme. We are delighted that the Spiddal and Ahascragh plants will be under construction next year and once completed bathing waters in these scenic areas will be improved and the plants will cater for population and economic growth while also catering for increased tourist numbers during the peak season.”

Paul continued: “Irish Water would like to thank the communities across the county who are impacted by the discharge of raw sewage for engaging with us during the information evenings that took place. We will continue to engage with local communities as we progress these vital projects.

Visit our Eliminating Raw Sewage section for updates on the projects as they progress.

Significant capital investment is needed over a sustained period of several decades to address the poor condition of Ireland’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in the Government’s Water Services Policy Statement and Irish Water’s Strategic Funding Plan. Irish Water has invested €3.8 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure to the end of 2019 and plans to invest a further €5.2 billion under its Capital Investment Programme from 2020 to 2024 in drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure.


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