New contract also signed for upgrade works on existing Arklow Sewer Network

12th February 2015: Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland, together with Wicklow County Council has published the report on the first phase of public consultation on the new Arklow Waste Water Treatment Plant. Irish Water will also invest over €2m in upgrading the existing Arklow sewer network which will be completed by Q2 2016.

Public Consultation update:
There are currently 42 towns in Ireland without waste water treatment plants, one of the largest is Arklow. At present untreated waste water from homes and businesses in Arklow is discharged into the Avoca River that runs directly through Arklow Town. This is an unacceptable practice and Irish Water has prioritised the delivery of a new waste water treatment plant for Arklow. The project has completed the first phase of public consultation and will enter the second stage of public consultation in April 2015. Feedback from the consultation process will be used to identify a preferred site location for the new plant. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

The first phase of public consultation has added more detail to the information on site identification. Three preferred sites were identified by Irish Water at Seabank, Ferrybank and Tinahask Upper. However, on the basis of the submissions received, Irish Water is now undertaking more in depth site investigations around the IFI / Shelton Abbey land parcel and the Killbride land parcel. The final site will be selected after the second phase of public consultation in April.

€2m upgrade works announced:
Irish Water is also continuing to invest in upgrading the existing sewer network in Arklow to provide a better service to the local community in the interim period. A contract has been signed with Gibbons Building and Civil Engineering and TES Limited to upgrade the storm and combined sewers along the South Green and Harbour Road in Arklow. The upgrade works will address critical deficiencies in the existing infrastructure and reduce the regular flooding in Arklow town in the vicinity of South Green and Harbour Road and will also include advanced watermain replacement along Harbour Road. The project is scheduled for completion in Q2 2016.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Michael Tinsley, Waste Water Capital Programme Lead, Irish Water said; "There is a critical need to invest in Ireland’s water and waste water infrastructure and to prioritise that investment to ensure it delivers the greatest value to the communities who most urgently require a higher standard of water services. Investment in Arklow is long overdue. Addressing the completely unacceptable situation where untreated waste water flows directly into the Avoca River is critical and by taking a national approach we can ensure investment is directed where it is needed most and urgent projects can be progressed.

Arklow is one example of the many communities across Ireland where water and waste water treatment services are either non existent or critically underinvested in over a long period of time. This situation cannot continue and we are committed to directing investment to ensure the greatest improvement in services for communities across Ireland."

Irish Water invested €340m in improving water and waste water services in 2014 and will invest over €410 million in improving water services during 2015, this spend will increase over subsequent years.

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