Regional Sludge Hub Centres

Irish Water is assessing wastewater treatment plants as potential sludge hub centres so that sludge can be treated more effectively and efficiently

Wastewater sludge management

In 2016, Irish Water published the National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan (NWSMP). The plan sets out a nationwide strategy to deliver a sustainable and standardised approach to managing wastewater sludge now and over the next 25 years. To find out more about the plan, visit our National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan page.

Sludge is generated from the treatment of wastewater, but once it is produced it needs to be treated so that it is safe for either disposal or re-use. Since 2014, Irish Water has been building and upgrading wastewater treatment plants nationwide. The volume of sludge is increasing year on year and is predicted to continue to increase. 

Why do we need sludge hub centres?

Sludge is generated from the treatment of wastewater in plants around the country. As Irish Water upgrades and builds new plants, the volume of sludge produced continues to increase. Between now and 2040, the NWSMP estimates that the volume of sludge produced will increase by 80%. This means that many sludge management facilities are either at or nearing capacity which is inefficient and unsustainable. Irish Water needs to plan for now and the future so that sludge can be treated and disposed of safely and in a way that does not pose a risk to public health, the environment or agricultural lands by increasing the capacity of sludge management facilities. 

The transportation of sludge for disposal or re-use is costly because of the volumes that are currently produced. The majority of sludge being transported is currently 95% to 99% water. Irish Water has been developing ways of reducing sludge volumes for the most efficient movement of sludge, to achieve the best balance between the cost of sludge transport and treatment to reduce the volume of sludge. This includes the proposed satellite dewatering centres, which is another Irish Water project to reduce the volume of sludge through a process of water removal prior to transportation to sludge hub centres.

What are the benefits of sludge hub centres

Optimising the number of sludge hub centres is a critical part of a more efficient national sludge management system. Irish Water is increasing the amount of sludge hub centres so that sludge can be treated in a more effective and efficient way. Increasing sludge treatment facilities will: 

  • Lower traffic movements and reduce transport emissions by reducing the amount of sludge that needs to be transported and the distance it needs to travel
  • Reduce operating costs per kg of sludge treated
  • Promote energy recovery

Regional sludge hub consultation

Irish Water has published the site selection methodology reports for the sludge hubs centres in the North West region, East Midlands region and South region and is inviting feedback from members of the public and interested stakeholders on these reports. Sludge hub centres form part of Irish Water’s National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan to ensure the safe and sustainable management of sludge. A sludge hub centre is a centralised treatment facility for the effective treatment of wastewater sludge prior to reuse or disposal. 

Irish Water will now identify and assess the capability of a number of existing wastewater treatment plants in the North West region, the East Midlands region and the South region to become sludge hub centres. 

For information on the consultation process in each of the regions, please see below.

What is happening now?

Irish Water has published the Site Selection Methodology Report for the sludge hub centres – North West region. As part of the next phase of this project, we are now inviting feedback from members of the public and interested stakeholders as part of a four-week non-statutory public consultation. 

Public consultation for the North West Region has been extended until Tuesday 05 November, 2019. This is due to an IT issue, as submissions emailed sludgehubsnorthwest@water.ie prior to this have not been received. View the Site Selection Methodology Report.

Irish Water is inviting feedback on the following: 

  1. Is there any additional information on the potential sites identified that we should be aware of? 
  2. In addition to the criteria set out to select a preferred site, are there any other factors you think should be considered in choosing the preferred site? 
  3. How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the project progresses?

Have your say

If you would like to make a submission, please send it by email or post by Tuesday 05 November 2019 via the following:

  • Email: sludgehubsnorthwest@water.ie
  • Post: Sludge Hub Centres – North West Region, C/O J. B. Barry & Partners Ltd., Classon House, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14, D14 T9T0

Site selection

As part of the sludge hub centres project, Irish Water will identify and assess the capability of existing wastewater treatment plants across the North West region. Irish Water has initially identified the following two wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the North West region for assessment in the site selection process.

  • Tuam Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Sligo Wastewater Treatment Plant

Both of these wastewater treatment plants currently accept and treat sludge. Should a site be progressed as a regional sludge hub centre the capacity of sludge management facilities at these sites would need to be upgraded and increased. The assessment of the potential treatment facilities and selection of preferred sites will be based on environmental, planning, economic, and technical factors. 

View the Site Selection Methodology Report for the North-West region.

Next Steps 

All submissions will be reviewed and relevant feedback considered as part of the Sludge Hub Centre Preferred Site Selection Report.

Submissions from individuals will be reported anonymously and feedback from organisations will be attributed to them. Submissions will not be individually responded to but will be summarised in a consultation report which will be published on this page.

For information on how we store your data, view our Privacy Notice.

Following this non-statutory public consultation, the Sludge Hub Centres Preferred Site Selection Report will be published.

As the Sludge Hub Centres Project develops, there will be further opportunities for stakeholders and the public to contribute to the project. 

What is happening now?

Irish Water has published the Site Selection Methodology Report for the sludge hub centres – East Midlands region. As part of the next phase of this project, we are now inviting feedback from members of the public and interested stakeholders as part of a four-week non-statutory public consultation. 

Public consultation will be undertaken from Tuesday 24th September to Tuesday 22 October 2019. View the Site Selection Methodology Report.

Irish Water is inviting feedback on the following: 

  1. Is there any additional information on the potential sites identified that we should be aware of? 
  2. In addition to the criteria set out to select a preferred site, are there any other factors you think should be considered in choosing the preferred site? 
  3. How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the project progresses?

Have your say

If you would like to make a submission, please send it by email or post by Tuesday 22 October 2019 via the following:

  • Email: sludgehubseastmidlands@water.ie
  • Post: Sludge Hub Centres – East Midlands Region, C/O J. B. Barry & Partners Ltd., Classon House, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14, D14 T9T0

Site selection

As part of the Sludge Hub Centres Project, Irish Water will identify and assess the capability of existing wastewater treatment plants in the East Midlands region to become regional sludge hub centres. 

Irish Water has initially identified the following seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the East Midlands region for assessment in the site selection process. 

  • Dundalk Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Drogheda Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Longford Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Navan Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Mullingar Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Tullamore Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Portlaoise Wastewater Treatment Plant

Should a site be progressed as a regional sludge hub centre, the capacity of sludge management facilities at these sites would need to be upgraded and increased. 

The assessment of the potential treatment facilities and selection of preferred sites will be based on environmental, planning, economic, and technical factors. 

View the Site Selection Methodology Report for the North West region.

Next Steps 

All submissions will be reviewed and relevant feedback considered as part of the Sludge Hub Centre Preferred Site Selection Report.

Submissions from individuals will be reported anonymously and feedback from organisations will be attributed to them. Submissions will not be individually responded to but will be summarised in a consultation report which will be published on this page.

For information on how we store your data, view our Privacy Notice.

Following this non-statutory public consultation, the Sludge Hub Centres Preferred Site Selection Report will be published.

As the Sludge Hub Centres Project develops, there will be further opportunities for stakeholders and the public to contribute to the project. 

What is happening now?

Irish Water has published the Site Selection Methodology Report for the sludge hub centres – South region. As part of the next phase of this project, we are now inviting feedback from members of the public and interested stakeholders as part of a four-week non-statutory public consultation. 

Public consultation will be undertaken from Tuesday 24th September to Tuesday 22 October 2019. View the Site Selection Methodology Report.

Irish Water is inviting feedback on the following: 

  1. Is there any additional information on the potential sites identified that we should be aware of? 
  2. In addition to the criteria set out to select a preferred site, are there any other factors you think should be considered in choosing the preferred site? 
  3. How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the project progresses?

Have your say

If you would like to make a submission, please send it by email or post by Tuesday 22 October 2019 via the following:

  • Email: sludgehubssouth@water.ie
  • Post: Sludge Hub Centres – South Region Public Consultation, C/O Jacobs Engineering Ireland Ltd, Merrion House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4, D04 R2C5

Site selection

As part of the next phase of the Sludge Hub Centres Project, Irish Water will identify and assess the capability of existing wastewater treatment plants across the South region to become regional sludge hub centres. 

Irish Water has initially identified the following nine wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) for assessment in the site selection process.

  • Cork/Kerry: Carrigrennan WWTP, Shanbally WWTP and Tralee WWTP
  • South-West: Limerick City WWTP and Clonmel WWTP
  • South-East: Dungarvan WWTP, Waterford WWTP, Kilkenny WWTP and Wexford WWTP 

Should a site be progressed as a regional sludge hub centre, the capacity of sludge management facilities at these sites would need to be upgraded and increased. The assessment of the potential treatment facilities and selection of preferred sites will be based on environmental, planning, economic, and technical factors. 

View the Site Selection Methodology Report for the South region.

Next Steps 

All submissions will be reviewed and relevant feedback considered as part of the Sludge Hub Centre Preferred Site Selection Report.

Submissions from individuals will be reported anonymously and feedback from organisations will be attributed to them. Submissions will not be individually responded to but will be summarised in a consultation report which will be published on this page.

For information on how we store your data, view our Privacy Notice.

Following this non-statutory public consultation, the Sludge Hub Centres Preferred Site Selection Report will be published.

As the Sludge Hub Centres Project develops, there will be further opportunities for stakeholders and the public to contribute to the project. 

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