Lixnaw Integrated Constructed Wetlands
Sustainable and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment system in Lixnaw, Co. Kerry
This project was delivered by Healy Rae Plant Hire Ltd on behalf of Irish Water, with works completed in December 2020.
What is an integrated construction wetland?
- An integrated construction wetland (ICW) is a sustainable, natural wastewater treatment system that is designed to look and function as a natural wetland. An ICW is an environmentally-friendly way to treat wastewater and will result in reduced operational and maintenance costs, biodiversity creation, while also reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
- Significantly reduce energy consumptions and carbon emissions associated with the traditional wastewater treatment process.
- Provide sufficient wastewater treatment to meet environmental requirements for existing and future populations.
- Reduce operational costs and maintenance in comparison to traditional wastewater treatment processes – less than 10% of a conventional WWTP.
- Create an environmentally friendly wastewater treatment process, which eliminates the need for chemicals to be added.
- Carbon sequestration - ICWs can sequester in excess of 5 tonnes of elemental carbon per hectare per annum - this is greater than a high-yield sitka spruce forestry.
- The carbon footprint will be negative over the lifespan of the ICW as the amount of carbon sequestered will be far greater than that used in the build.
- Enhance biodiversity for plants and animals at the site through habitat creation using native plants and trees.
- The vegetation used in the ICW cells is common wetland/emergent species that are native in Ireland and to Kerry. These include bulrushes, sedges and water grasses.
- Ensure compliance with Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations 2001.
What is involved?
- Construction of two small settlement cells and four larger treatment cells planted with native wetland species on the 6.7 hectare site to the west of the village.
- Construction of pumping station and ancillary works.
- Provision an open public amenity area with walkways and information.
- Add biodiversity value to the area by providing habitat for local wildlife while remaining sensitive to the existing landscape.
- This is followed by a 12-month commissioning period for system maturation and plant establishment.
Is the ICW at Lixnaw now operational?
Works at the ICW in Lixnaw were substantially complete in December 2020 and the project is now fully operational, however, we have moved to the commissioning period, which is next phase of the project.
What is the commissioning phase of the project?
A 12-month commissioning period is now required for the ICW for system maturation and plant establishment.
This 12-month commissioning period is vital to ensure that the wastewater treatment system is working efficiently and that a dense vegetation cover is established to facilitate in delivering effective treatment of wastewater. This will require regular inspection and maintenance by the project team and therefore we ask the public not to enter the area during this essential period.
What can be done to help?
Irish Water will operate and maintain the Lixnaw ICW but there are some ways in which the public can help.
- Only flush appropriate items down your toilet. Flushing inappropriate and non-biodegradable materials such as sanitary products, wet wipes, face masks and cotton buds can give rise to ragging which can cause blockages in the pipes or the pumps. This will have a negative impact on the wastewater system and wetlands environment and lead to inefficiencies in the system. For more information see the Think Before You Flush section of our website.
- It is imperative that the facility remains closed to the public during the commissioning period. We ask the public to support us with this request to ensure that the wetlands have established sufficiently when it opens to the public.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and continued support as we complete this essential and environmentally friendly project and we look forward to welcoming you to the site once it’s suitable for public entry.
Aerial photograph of Lixnaw ICW site prior to construction:
Aerial photograph of Lixnaw ICW in October 2020: