Why do we need the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant?

At present, untreated wastewater from homes and businesses in Arklow is discharged into the Avoca River that runs directly through Arklow Town, County Wicklow. This practice of discharging untreated wastewater to the river is no longer acceptable and Irish Water intends to fix this problem in partnership with Wicklow County Council by developing a Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. The Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant will bring benefits to Arklow in terms of health, integrity of the environment and improved water quality for all.

What will the project involve?

Irish Water intends to develop the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant Project which includes:

  • A new Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP) of 36,000 population equivalent. The preferred site was recommended in December 2015 as the Old Wallboard Factory, North Quay, Ferrybank.
  • Sewer pipelines to bring untreated wastewater to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A marine outfall pipe to safely discharge the treated wastewater effluent to the Irish Sea.

What is happening now?

Irish Water is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will further examine in detail the issues raised during two phases of public consultation held on the project. Irish Water would like to thank all of those who took part in these consultations.  The EIS will be submitted  as part of a planning application in 2017.

View our project roadmap here.

Site investigation works
Irish Water has recently completed a series of investigative surveys along the North and South Quays in Arklow. The information gathered from these surveys will be used in the design of the wastewater treatment plant, the interceptor sewers and the planning application which will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2017.

The work completed to date includes a number of ecological surveys including bat surveys, water birds surveys as well as identification of invasive species.

In addition, ground penetrating radar and intrusive site investigations have been carried out along the proposed sewer routes, as well as structural surveys of the existing old Wallboard Factory, North Quay, Ferrybank site.

Marine Foreshore Licence

Irish Water has been granted a foreshore licence by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government for the marine site investigation works, to progress the development of the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP). 

The marine site investigation works will be carried out in Arklow Bay and the estuary of the Avoca River. The works will enable the team to progress with the preliminary design of the proposed marine outfall pipe in the bay and the intake pipe crossing the Avoca River. The works include archaeological surveys, ecological surveys and geotechnical surveys

What is happening next?

Irish Water is progressing the architectural and landscape design of the site and will ensure that the design is visually appealing and in-keeping with the requirements of the local community and surrounding landscape. Irish Water will share these preliminary designs in advance of the planning application to ensure that local feedback is incorporated into our plans.

Irish Water expects to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála, along with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in 2017.  An application for a Wastewater Discharge Licence will be made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in parallel with the planning application.  


What has happened to date?

Irish Water has recommended the Old Wallboard Factory, North Quay, Ferrybank as the preferred site for the new WwTP in Arklow. This location has been recommended by Irish Water based on the feedback from two public consultation processes in addition to consultation with An Bord Pleanála, Wicklow County Council and the Environmental Protection Agency. A copy of the second Consultation Report can be found here along with an updated Phase 2 Site Assessment Report.

History of the project

The process of providing a WwTP for Arklow began with the original planning permission being granted to Arklow Town Council in 1994. Due to changes in environmental policy in the following years, a new EIS was required as part of the planning permission process and in 2005 planning permission for the Arklow WwTP was once again granted. This permission expired in early 2015.

Irish Water took responsibility for providing and managing public water services throughout Ireland in 2014. Irish Water is committed to ensuring a new Wastewater Treatment Plant for Arklow is delivered through the development of a new planning process.

Phase 2 Reports and Brochure

Irish Water & Wicklow County Council Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant, Site Assessment Report, Phase 2

Information Booklets

Phase 1 Reports

Contact us

If you have further queries or comments on the Arklow Wastewater Treatment Plant, you can contact our Project Team by email arklowtp@water.ie

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