Project Overview

Irish Water is currently undertaking studies to identify a suitable location for a Regional Biosolids Storage Facility for greater Dublin (including Dublin and parts of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow). 

The new storage facility will form a key part of the upgraded wastewater treatment network and will facilitate the continued development of greater Dublin.

Biosolids are a by-product of the wastewater treatment process and contain high levels of nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus. They are used in agriculture to fertilise the land during the planting seasons each spring and autumn. In the interim periods, biosolids need to be stored.

The quantity of biosolids generated nationally is expected to increase significantly by 2040 as new and upgraded plants are completed to treat our wastewater. In the coming years, the quantity of biosolids being produced at the Greater Dublin’s wastewater treatment facilities is expected to exceed the available storage.

Developing regional biosolids storage facilities was identified as one of the key objectives of Irish Water’s National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan published in 2016 which set out a standardised long-term approach to managing the sludge outputs of the wastewater treatment process. It recommended that, where appropriate, biosolids storage facilities be developed to serve a number of local plants or a wider regional need.

Project Need and Benefits

Greater Dublin is growing

The population of greater Dublin is forecasted to exceed 2 million for the first time by 2031. In turn, the demand for wastewater treatment within greater Dublin is expected to grow significantly and the quantity of biosolids generated nationally is expected to increase by 2040 as new and upgraded plants are completed to treat our wastewater.

Indicative layout

It is planned that a new Regional Biosolids Storage Facility will serve greater Dublin and its population for the next 25 years and will safeguard public health, protect our environment and facilitate development in this growing region. The new regional facility will lead to greater efficiencies and more effective management of the wastewater network over the longer term.

Benefits of the project include:

  • A single regional biosolids storage facility, located closer to where biosolids are produced  rather than numerous smaller facilities spread across several communities. 
  • A storage facility closer to greater Dublin’s wastewater treatment plants where biosolids will continue to be produced into the future.
  • Less space required for one regional facility, ensuring environmental sustainability.
  • One regional facility, close to transport routes, will have a lower traffic impact on the region’s communities resulting in fewer trucks for collection and distribution.
  • One small team will operate and manage the facility enabling a consistently high quality.

Public Participation

The project roadmap outlines the project development process and stages. The process to identify a suitable site for the facility has commenced and we are currently seeking feedback on the proposed methodology that will be used to select the site. The Stage 1 Report – Site Selection Methodology has been published and a four week consultation will be held from 2 February, 2017 to 2 March, 2017.

Irish Water is seeking feedback on the following:

  • Tell us your views on the approach to site selection, as described in the Stage 1 Report – Site Selection Methodology.
  • The general siting considerations and criteria set out the Environmental, Economic, Planning and Social & Community factors that will be considered.Are there other criteria that should be included at this stage?
  • Are there any additional factors that should be taken into consideration in the selection methodology proposed by the project team?
  • How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the project progresses?

The Stage 1 Report – Site Selection Methodology can be viewed above and hard copies will also be available for viewing at planning counters and public libraries in greater Dublin.

Submissions or observations on the project are invited:

  • By phone: 1890 44 55 67
  • By email: biosolids@water.ie
  • By post: Biosolids Consultation, Irish Water, Colvill House, 24-26 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

The preferred site once identified will undergo all necessary environmental studies and assessments as part of the preparation of a planning application for the project.

The project will include three non-statutory public consultations between now and September 2017 at key stages as technical studies for the project are published. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A site of approximately 8 hectares will be required to house a storage area of 10,500 m2 comprising two storage buildings (each 50m x 105m x 15m high), as well as an administration building (16m x 12m).

The Regional Biosolids Storage Facility will need the capacity to store up to 48,000 tonnes of biosolids per annum.

The detailed design and layout of the facility will be developed to ensure it is suitable for its location when a proposed site is determined. The RBSF compound, however, will be landscaped and comprise of a number of roofed sheds, similar to modern industrial warehouses, and an administration building.

The technical studies will identify suitable sites in greater Dublin that will be subject to environmental assessment and planning consent. Irish Water policy is to locate the Regional Biosolids Storage Facility close to where the biosolids are produced and close to transport routes to ensure they can easily be transported from the WwTPs and later distributed to lands for reuse.

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