Irish Water welcomes the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project. This project will protect public health, safeguard the environment and support sustainable social and economic growth.
The Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant treats approximately 40% of Ireland’s public wastewater. The plant is operating over capacity and is not in compliance with the EU’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.
The planned upgrade will ensure that wastewater water arriving at the plant is treated to the required standard and will improve the water quality in the Lower Liffey Estuary, a key priority for Irish Water since it took responsibility for water and wastewater services in 2014. Jean Hobbs, Project Manager with Irish Water, said: “Having adequate wastewater treatment infrastructure is essential to safeguard the environment and to facilitate housing and commercial development. These works will allow the wastewater generated every day in our homes, schools and workplaces to be treated in compliance with the EU and national wastewater treatment regulations and returned safely to Dublin Bay.”
The upgrade works will facilitate the use of an innovative technology, Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS), which allows for a greater amount of wastewater to be treated to a higher standard within the current plant.
Jean Hobbs said, “The upgrade project uses innovative technology to deliver a more sustainable, safe, and environmentally sensitive solution for the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant. Irish Water’s experts identified the new AGS technology as the best solution for the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant and we began detailed testing and trials in April 2015. These trials proved hugely successful and confirmed that wastewater treated by AGS technology can be safely discharged at the current outfall location while protecting the nutrient sensitive Lower Liffey Estuary and Dublin Bay.”
Wastewater from Dublin has been treated in Ringsend since 1906. Built in 2005, the current plant is the largest in Ireland. Although it was designed to cater for an equivalent of 1.64 million people, it currently treats wastewater for the equivalent of 1.9 million people serving Greater Dublin and surrounding areas. In 2012 planning permission was granted for a substantial upgrade based on technologies available at the time, which included a 9km long sea outfall tunnel.
The advanced technology Irish Water is employing means that the treated wastewater leaving the plant at a higher quality. This higher quality treated wastewater will be suitable for discharge at the current outfall location, in compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, removing the need for the 9km outfall tunnel originally included in the 2012 proposal.
The Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project is one of the most important in a range of major investments in both drinking water supply and wastewater treatment that Irish Water will be rolling out to support the economic projections for growth for the Greater Dublin Area and to protect the environment.