Irish Water and Sligo County Council today marked the official opening of Grange, Strandhill, Tubbercurry and Ballinafad Wastewater Treatment Plants following a €16m investment. The new infrastructure ensures that treated wastewater is now fully compliant with EU Urban Wastewater Directives before being safely discharged back into the natural environment.
Official Opening of Grange, Strandhill, Tubbercurry and Ballinafad Wastewater Treatment Plants Marked
At a special event this morning to mark the occasion, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Cllr Paul Taylor welcomed the significant investment by Irish Water which included the upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant in Strandhill.
Speaking at the official opening Councillor Taylor said:
“I’m delighted to be here to witness the successful completion and official opening of Grange, Strandhill, Tubbercurry and Ballinafad Wastewater Treatment Plants. The completion of these essential projects is vital to ensure we can provide a platform for future growth in these communities. They will also make a huge difference to the water quality of nearby coastal areas including Rosses Point and at Streedagh Beach and the water quality in Tubbercurry Stream, River Moy and in Lough Arrow.”
The new and upgraded treatment plants will bring huge benefits to the local communities in terms of protection of the environment; improved water quality for all water sport enthusiasts; swimmers, surfers, kayakers as well as marine life.
Local surfing pioneer and owner of Sligo Surf Experience, Seamus McGoldrick said:
“Surfers, bodyboarder and sea swimmers, as well as the occasional sea dippers will benefit from cleaner water at Strandhill beach. Today is a great day for residents and visitors alike, knowing we are another step closer to safeguarding Sligo’s beautiful coastline and natural environment.”
The works in Strandhill included the construction of a new inlet works, storm water holding tank, secondary biological treatment, settlement tanks, a control building, sludge thickening facility as well as an upgrade to the existing Caravan Park Pumping Station. The capacity of the upgraded wastewater treatment plant in Strandhill has more than doubled and can now serve a population equivalent of 3,700.
In Grange, the capacity of the upgraded treatment plant has now tripled and the plant can serve a population equivalent of 900. The upgrade works also included the construction of new inlet works, a storm water holding tank, a secondary biological treatment process, final settlement tanks, a control building and sludge thickening facility.
As part of this investment, a state of the art wastewater treatment plant was built in Tubbercurry. The capacity of the new plant has more than doubled and can now serve a population equivalent of 3,500. The works also included upgrades to the inlet pumping station, new inlet works, storm water holding tank, a secondary biological treatment process, final settlement tanks, a control building and sludge thickening facility. A gravity sewer pipeline to the wastewater treatment plant was also constructed as well as a rising main to bring treated wastewater to the outfall location at the River Moy.
In Ballinafad a new wastewater treatment plant was built within the site of the existing plant which now serves a population equivalent of 200. The works included the construction of new inlet works, a storm water holding tank, a secondary biological treatment process, settlement tanks and a sludge storage facility.
Anthony Skeffington, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Manager said:
“The size and scale of the challenge of wastewater services in Ireland is well documented. In 2020 alone, Irish Water invested €333 million in wastewater infrastructure, an increase of €25 million on 2019. Approximately, 60% of the raw sewage entering waterways in Ireland has now been eliminated and we are on track to fully removing the majority of raw sewage discharges by 2025. We are achieving 93% compliance with the urban wastewater treatment directive, but we know we have more to do.
“The upgrades to the four wastewater treatment plants that we are celebrating today will ensure that wastewater is adequately treated and meets appropriate standards before being safely discharged back into the environment.”
Martin Lydon, Chief Executive of Sligo County Council also attended the event and added:
“I am honoured to be here today in Strandhill, at the official opening of the new and upgraded wastewater treatment plants in Grange, Strandhill, Tubbercurry and Ballinafad. Irish Water is to be commended for completing this work as part of its commitment to the people of Sligo. The provision of a reliable wastewater service, in a manner that protects the natural environment, is essential to the economic and social development across the county.”
Since 2014 Irish Water has made a significant investment in the provision of wastewater services in Sligo. However significant capital investment is needed over a sustained period of several decades to address the poor condition of Ireland’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in the Government’s Water Services Policy Statement and Irish Water’s Strategic Funding Plan. Irish Water has invested €3.8 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure to the end of 2019 and plans to invest a further €5.2 billion under its Capital Investment Programme from 2020 to 2024 in drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure.