Project Overview

Irish Water has submitted a planning application for strategic infrastructure development to An Bord Pleanála seeking permission to further progress the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP). The application seeks permission for works required to facilitate the use of Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) technology, to omit the previously permitted long sea outfall tunnel and to upgrade the sludge treatment facilities at Ringsend, Dublin 4, and to provide for a Regional Biosolids Storage Facility in Newtown, Dublin 11. For more information on the application please view our Ringsend WWTP Upgrade environment and planning section.

The new biosolids storage facility will form a key part of the upgraded wastewater treatment network for greater Dublin and will facilitate its continued social and economic growth while protecting the environment.

Biosolids are a treated by-product of the wastewater treatment process. The production of biosolids results in a low odour product that is not harmful to human health. They contain high levels of nutrients and are sustainably reused as an organic fertiliser in agriculture, in compliance with EU and National regulations. Approximately 98% of biosolids produced in Ireland are reused on agricultural land.

Biosolids are only applied to lands during the planting seasons each Spring and Autumn. For the rest of the year biosolids need to be stored. No further treatment of the material is required and no treatment will take place at the storage facility.

Irish Water commenced a site selection process in February 2017 that included three stages of public consultation to identify a preferred site for a Regional Biosolids Storage Facility.

This process identified a preferred site for the facility at Newtown, Dublin 11.  A six week non-statutory consultation was held on the identified preferred site and the factors to be considered in the development of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR).  The preferred site has undergone all relevant environmental studies and assessments as part of the preparation of a planning application for the Ringsend WWTP Upgrade project.

View the Regional Biosolids Storage Facility August 2017 Newsletter.

Project Need and Benefits

Greater Dublin is growing

The population of Dublin and the surrounding counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow is growing. So too is economic activity in this region. With that comes increased need for wastewater treatment. Wastewater is now also being treated to a higher standard which results in larger volumes of biosolids.

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 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.

Regional Biosolids Storage Facility

In the coming years, the quantity of biosolids being produced in the greater Dublin region is expected to exceed the currently available storage capacity. The new facility is required to support the upgrade to the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant and the development of new wastewater facilities such as the Greater Dublin Drainage project in north County Dublin.

What is happening now?

Irish Water has submitted a planning application for strategic infrastructure development to An Bord Pleanála seeking permission to further progress the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP). The application seeks permission for works required to facilitate the use of Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) technology, to omit the previously permitted long sea outfall tunnel and to upgrade the sludge treatment facilities at Ringsend, Dublin 4, and to provide for a Regional Biosolids Storage Facility in Newtown, Dublin 11.  

An Bord Pleanala will hold a seven week statutory consultation on the application,

The consultation period commences on Tuesday 12 June 2018.  Submissions or observations can be made in writing to An Bord Pleanála up until 5:30pm on Tuesday 31 July 2018.

  • Post to The Secretary, An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902
  • Or deliver them to the Board’s offices. (Office hours are 9.15am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays and other days on which the offices are closed).

Any submissions or observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 and must include the following information:

  • Name and address of the person making the submission or observation
  • Subject matter of the submission or observation
  • Reasons, considerations and arguments in full

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to the Strategic Infrastructure Section of the Board (Tel: +353 1 858 8100).

Stay Informed

You can contact the project team by:

  • Phone: 1890 44 55 67
  • Email: biosolids@water.ie
  • Post: Biosolids Consultation, Irish Water, Colvill House, 24-26 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

Frequently Asked Questions

The site is 11.4 hectares and will 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).

At full capacity, the facility will store 48,000m3 tonnes of biosolids.

This image shows the indicative layout of the facility.

What will the new facility look like?
Indicative Layout of the Proposed Regional Biosolids Storage Facility

A preferred site for the facility has been identified at Newtown/Kilshane. This site is located off the M2 Motorway near Kilshane Cross in Fingal, Dublin and we are now seeking feedback on this preferred site. The preferred site will only be confirmed following completion of this round of public consultation and further environmental studies, and will then form part of the planning applications to An Bord Pleanála for both the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant upgrade and the Greater Dublin Drainage Project.

Where will the Regional Biosolids Storage Facility be located?
Location of preferred site for RBSF

Biosolids will be fully treated at a wastewater treatment plant before being delivered to the storage facility in covered trucks. Biosolids are a safe and stable low odour material and the storage buildings will be fitted with odour control units. To mitigate odour, all loading and unloading will take place internally within the enclosed buildings.

Biosolids are produced at our wastewater treatment plants. The treatment process results in a low odour, biologically stable product that is not harmful to human health. When managed appropriately, biosolids can be sustainably recovered to agriculture in compliance with European and national regulation.

The new storage facility will be operated to the highest health and safety standards and every measure will be taken to ensure that the environmental amenity of the local area is maintained.

Biosolids will be delivered to the storage facility in covered trucks and unloaded/loaded in enclosed buildings in order to minimise noise, dust and odour risk.  A construction environmental management plan will be implemented during the construction programme which will minimise and mitigate construction related impacts where possible.

Vehicles will access the site from the south on the R135. The opportunity for vehicles to turn left, rather than cross traffic, when entering and existing the site is positive from a road safety perspective. Vehicles leaving must turn left and travel north to join the N2. This will minimise potential conflicts with vehicles passing the site.

In response to consultation feedback, traffic counts were carried out at the five potential sites over the course of a day (1st June). The additional traffic from the proposed facility is expected to have minimal impact on the local traffic levels.

This project may also provide the opportunity to make improvements to the local road network in the area.

A single regional facility will lead to greater operational efficiencies and more effective management of the wastewater network in greater Dublin over the longer term. It represents the most efficient solution as quality management and control standards are best achieved at a single regional facility. 

One regional facility, close to transport routes, will have a lower traffic impact on the region’s communities than several small storage facilities as fewer trucks will be needed to collect the biosolids to distribute them across Leinster. The area required for one regional facility will also require less space than multiple units and this, in turn, is better from an environmental impact perspective.

Irish Water has submitted a planning application for strategic infrastructure development to An Bord Pleanála seeking permission to further progress the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP). The application seeks permission for works required to facilitate the use of Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) technology, to omit the previously permitted long sea outfall tunnel and to upgrade the sludge treatment facilities at Ringsend, Dublin 4, and to provide for a Regional Biosolids Storage Facility in Newtown, Dublin 11.  

An Bord Pleanala will hold a seven week statutory consultation on the application,

The consultation period commences on Tuesday 12 June 2018.  Submissions or observations can be made in writing to An Bord Pleanála up until 5:30pm on Tuesday 31 July 2018.

  • Post to The Secretary, An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902
  • Or deliver them to the Board’s offices. (Office hours are 9.15am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays and other days on which the offices are closed).

Any submissions or observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 and must include the following information:

  • Name and address of the person making the submission or observation
  • Subject matter of the submission or observation
  • Reasons, considerations and arguments in full

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to the Strategic Infrastructure Section of the Board (Tel: +353 1 858 8100).

The application may be viewed www.ringsendwwtpupgrade.ie.

All documents may be inspected free of charge or purchased on payment of a specified fee (which shall not exceed the reasonable cost of making such copy) during public opening hours for a period of seven weeks commencing on Tuesday 12 June 2018 at the following locations:

  • The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
  • The Offices Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
  • The Offices of Fingal County Council, County Offices, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
  • The Offices of Fingal county Council, Fingal County Hall, Main Street, Swords, Fingal, Co. Dublin
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