About the project

In 2015, the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins of sewage was discharged into Cork Harbour every day. We’ve reduced this figure to 20,000 by building a wastewater treatment plant in Shanbally and repairing and extending the sewer network to connect more harbour areas to the plant. We’re now halfway to our goal of a sewage-free harbour by 2021.

The project consists of:

  • A new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally
  • 14 new pumping stations
  • 30km of new sewers
  • Repairs to 25km of old pipes
  • A drilled crossing under the estuary

The need for the Project

The Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project aims to provide enhanced wastewater treatment through the development of a new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally, Co. Cork. The project is important in terms of protecting the environment, facilitating economic development and providing for a growing population. The plant will serve the areas of Cobh, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Passage West/Monkstown (including Glenbrook) and Ringaskiddy (including Shanbally & Coolmore).

Protecting the Environment and Health

The provision of a secondary wastewater treatment plant for Cork Lower Harbour is a requirement under both European and National Legislation. The Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations 2001 (S.I. 254 of 2001) as amended, requires sanitary authorities to provide treatment plants which offer secondary treatment, or equivalent treatment, by specified dates according to the population equivalent entering the collection system.

In order to comply with Irish statutory regulations and the European Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, Irish Water and Cork County Council intend to fix this problem. A sustainable wastewater treatment plant will bring benefits in terms of health, integrity of the environment and improved water quality for all who enjoy this wonderful natural resource.

Economic Benefits

As a result of this Project, water quality in Cork Harbour will significantly improve. Cleaner water will enhance the Harbour’s amenity value and act as a platform for social and economic development. The Project includes the capacity for future growth in the Harbour area. The new pipes, pumping stations and treatment plant have all been sized to accommodate an increase in the local population. Irish Water and Cork County Council are making a long term investment in Cork. Furthermore, it will ensure that the water quality standards set down by regulatory bodies will be achieved and this will help Ireland to avoid substantial penalties.

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