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SWELL project starts in Killea and Carrigans, Co. Donegal

Uisce Éireann in partnership with Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) is delighted to announce the commencement of works to upgrade wastewater treatment plants in Carrigans and Killea, Co Donegal. The works are being undertaken as part of a major cross-border project aiming to improve water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.

The Shared Waters Enhancement & Loughs Legacy (SWELL) project, which has been awarded €35m under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), involves the construction of new wastewater treatment works as well as upgrades to sewerage networks on both sides of the border to address wastewater pollution in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle. Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in Ireland.

The upgrade works in Carrigans involves the construction of a new pumping station at the site of the existing wastewater treatment plant along with a new rising main to transfer wastewater for treatment to St. Johnston Wastewater Treatment Plant. In Killea, a new wastewater treatment plant will be constructed on the existing site providing secondary treatment. Currently, the wastewater treatment plants in Carrigans and Killea only provide primary treatment and are operating above capacity. The upgrade works will increase the capacity at both treatment plants.

BSG Civil Engineering Limited are contracted to carry out the works at both sites on behalf of Uisce Éireann in line with HSE and Government COVID-19 restrictions. The works are expected to be completed by January 2022, with commissioning works to continue until summer 2022.

Speaking about the works, Uisce Éireann’s Conor Gilleran explained: “The commencement of works at Carrigans and Killea is a significant step towards the delivery of this major cross-border project which will have a positive impact on local communities and the environment.

This is the first time that targeted wastewater improvements to address wastewater pollution are being delivered on both sides of the border through collaboration by both utilities. Upon completion, the upgrade works will improve the standard of wastewater treatment and will also provide a platform for future residential and commercial development in Carrigans and Killea.

Tomasz Piadlo, SWELL Project Manager for NI Water explained: “The SWELL project provides a welcome opportunity for both water utilities to work collaboratively to prioritise and align projects in a coordinated way so as to make maximum positive impact on the shared water bodies on the island of Ireland.

The commencement of Uisce Éireann’s programme of work in Carrigans and Killea marks another key milestone in the four-year SWELL project. The improvements being made at Uisce Éireann wastewater assets in Donegal and Louth will support the extensive upgrades carried out across the border by NI Water to improve the water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.

Highlighting the importance of the project Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: “We all know that nature does not respect geographical borders between regions. Therefore, cross-border cooperation is vital if we are to help protect our shared local environment. This project represents a significant and long-term investment from the INTERREG VA Programme in the water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle. It is testament to what can be achieved when two jurisdictions work together to help address a common problem, such as wastewater pollution, and in doing so make significant long-lasting positive impacts on our local environment leading to a cleaner and safer future.