News & Updates

While we are improving water quality in Cork Harbour, Irish Water would like to thank residents and businesses in advance for their patience and cooperation and apologise for any inconvenience these temporary works cause.

Untreated raw sewage has been discharging directly into the lower harbour for decades. Wastewater is collected from homes and businesses across the lower harbour area and undergoes no treatment before being discharged into the sea. This practice is in breach of EU regulations. We are addressing this issue with a long-term investment in wastewater in Cork.

Passage West, Glenbrook, Monkstown

Wastewater from Passage West, Glenbrook and Monkstown now no longer discharges untreated to Cork Harbour. The sewer network has been extended as part of the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project to connect these area to the Shanbally Wastewater Treatment Plant.

For queries on the completed works at Passage West, Glenbrook and Monkstown, please email the project team at

Cobh Networks Contract

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Irish Water, working in partnership with Cork County Council, is carrying out the Cobh Town Networks Contract, a major wastewater project in the Cork Lower Harbour area. Farrans Sorensen Joint Venture (FSJV) is working on behalf of Irish Water to deliver this project.

These necessary works will ensure an end to the practice of raw sewage discharging from Cobh Town through 19 outfall pipes around Cobh, directly into Cork harbour.

A summary of the works currently ongoing as part of the Cobh Networks Contract is provided below – if you have specific queries on the works please email

Summary of current works

Outfall Works 

Works to install an emergency overflow pipe at Station Car Park Pumping Station is ongoing.

These emergency overflow or outfall pipes are necessary at each of the new pumping stations installed as part of the works – at Rushbrooke, Dock Cottages, Cork Dockyard and Old Town Hall. 

Unlike the work at the outfall for Station Car Park, the outfalls at the other four pumping stations will be installed from the sea. 

This work will begin in early April  and will continue over the coming months.  The work will be carried out by a specialist subcontractor and will include the use of a pontoon barge. This barge will be assisted by one or more support craft. 

As the pipelines are installed, the water surrounding the works may appear cloudy at times due to the disturbance of sediment. We will use silt curtains to contain this to a small area around the works.

Work on the first outfall at Rushbrooke will begin on Thursday 8th April 2021.

Information shared as a Mariner’s Notice (Notice 3 of 2021) is available at the Port of Cork website here. 

The following table provides a summary of the ongoing works as part of the Cobh Networks Contract in April/May 2021.


LocationOngoing Works What does this mean for me? Dates
1. East Beach & West Beach Pipe laying and MH construction This road is now open.

Some works remain to complete connections to this pipeline system and some ESB ducting. These works will commence on Monday 12th April 2021.  A localised Stop / Go traffic management will be in place to maintain traffic flow as works are being completed at each of the work areas at Pearse’s Square, Casement Square and West Beach, respectively.

From Monday 12 April 2021 for approximately 6 weeks
2. Connolly St & The Mall Installation of foul sewer, construction of MHs & gas main diversions. Road closure and vehicular access restrictions. Mon 8th Mar – Fri 21st May

Pumping stations

LocationOngoing WorksWhat does this mean for me?Dates
1. Old Town Hall Mechanical and Electrical fit out of Pumping Station and site finishing works Parking restrictions at Lynch’s Quay from October 2019. Ongoing
2. Station Carpark Mechanical and Electrical testing and commissioning of Pumping Station and finishing works. Localised temporary parking restrictions For short periods between January and May 2021
3. Rushbrook Mechanical and electrical testing and commissioning of Pumping Station Works confined to Pumping Station Ongoing
4. Cork Dockyard Construction of Pumping Station and associated electrical work Works are limited to Cork Dockyard site Ongoing
5. Dock Cottages Mechanical and electrical works associated with Pumping Station Works confined to Pumping Station Ongoing

Cobh to Monkstown - Estuary Crossing Contract

In December 2020, Irish Water completed the Cobh to Monkstown Estuary Crossing Contract.  This Contract was part of the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project, where Irish Water is working, in partnership with Cork County Council, towards ending the decades-long practice of discharging raw sewage directly into Cork Lower Harbour.  

This landmark engineering feat involved two of the longest horizontal directional drills ever carried out in Ireland under the Lee Estuary. These drilled bores allowed the installation of sewer pipelines 60m under the Lee Estuary – creating a vital connection between Cobh and Monkstown. This connection will allow the raw sewage from Cobh town to be transferred for treatment, once work on the Cobh Town Networks contract is complete in 2021.

In addition, O’Connor Utilities Limited, working on Irish Water’s behalf, has won the inaugural Ervia Major Projects Contractor Safety Award for the safe delivery of this contract. 

Irish Water would like to particularly thank the local community for their support. Their patience and cooperation with our contractor, O’Connor Utilities, in partnership with Long O’Donnell, Nicholas O’Dwyer and our own Irish Water project team, has greatly contributed to the safe and successful completion of these works.

There is a video explaining . . .

Monkstown Park, the HDD drill reception site during construction, has been reinstated with a new surface and multi-use games area to the basketball court, additional drainage to the levelled and reseeded football pitch, and a new wildflower area and bug hotel.

The bug hotel has been constructed using sections of the pipe type that has been installed under the Estuary, to represent how these pipes are working underground where we cannot see them – bringing raw sewage for treatment, leading to better water quality in the sea at Monkstown and all the Cork Lower Harbour area - improving the environment we all live in. 

When works in Cobh are complete in 2021, the raw sewage from Cobh town will be collected and transferred for treatment via the Cobh to Monkstown Estuary Crossing to Monkstown pumping station, from where it will be pumped to Shanbally Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment before its safe discharge to the harbour.

When construction on the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project commenced in 2015, the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage was discharging into the Harbour every day. We are now treating the equivalent of 30,000 of those 40,000 wheelie bins by completing the Shanbally Wastewater Treatment Plant and pipelines and pumping stations on the south side of the harbour so that wastewater from Ringaskiddy, Crosshaven, Carrigaline, Passage West and Monkstown is now being treated.

When all the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage works are complete in 2021, the project will, in compliance with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, treat all wastewater from the agglomerations of:

  • Ringaskiddy-Crosshaven-Carrigaline;
  • Ringaskiddy village;
  • Passage West-Monkstown;
  • Cobh town.

This means 20,000 homes and businesses will be connected to the new scheme and that raw sewage from these areas will no longer be discharged into the harbour, positively impacting the local economy and greatly improving the amenity value of the Cork Lower Harbour for the surrounding communities.

Contact us

You can email the project team with any queries at  

Irish Water is committed to delivering these works with the minimum disruption to residents and businesses and to working with the local community to minimise the impact where possible.

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