25 June 2015
By David O’Sullivan
Writing about drinking water is nice. It is the most precious and wholesome product that exists. In an era of transparency water is where it’s at!
However in recent years water has been controversial in Ireland. The supply of fresh drinking water – and conversely the removal of waste water – used to be the function of local authorities. In Cork that meant Cork City Council and Cork County Council. Those functions have now been taken over by Irish Water.
We reported as far back as two years ago how a foul odour existed in Clonakilty, West Cork. The odour was caused by a wastewater treatment plant being overloaded. An upgrade was needed. Informed sources indicated at the time that the Council was slow to invest in the plant as there was uncertainty over whether or not it would be repaid by Irish Water, viz why would the local authority invest in infrastructure which it would not own for much longer. Whatever transpired it is now 2015 and residents and businesses in Clonakilty have welcomed progress on upgrades.
The waste water plant can now handle four times the capacity of the 2013 plant. Irish Water today welcomed members of the local community to view €7 million worth of upgrades.
Location of the plant:
On the Clonakilty to Inchydoney Road.
Clonakilty Harbour is a National Heritage Area, Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area.
The project also includes an upgrade to the main pumping station at Long Quay and provides additional capacity for storm water storage, which will significantly reduce the frequency of overflow to Clonakilty Bay at Croppy Park.
The upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant in Clonakilty will involve the use of new state of the art Nereda® Wastewater Technology. This technology allows treatment in a third of the footprint compared with conventional wastewater treatment processes. It also reduces the volume of sludge produced, and chemicals consumed. The wastewater treatment plant in Clonakilty is the first plant constructed in Ireland and the UK using Nereda® technology and the first in the world that is built mostly underground to minimise the visual impact.
In a statement today Irish Water said
‘Construction work on the wastewater treatment plant upgrade in Clonakilty is almost complete. The new plant is already accepting wastewater for treatment, with the commissioning process underway. A proactive programme is well advanced to ensure that effluent discharges from the treatment facility meet the EPA license requirements, thus improving the quality of the receiving waters for the key summer period, as well as tackling odour issues, which have long been a problem due to the outdated infrastructure serving the town.’
Nearby Model Village also welcomes upgrades
Kim McNamara, Manager of the West Cork Model Railway Village said
‘Clonakilty is renowned as the beach centre of West Cork with mass tourism appeal. The Town’s success as a tourist area is largely dependent on its coastal location and the world famous Blue Flag Beach at Inchydoney, not forgetting the wonderful Model Railway Village. Adequate wastewater capacity is vital to ensure that existing industry continues to thrive in Clonakilty, allowing room for new development, whilst maintaining a clean coast and enhancing this beautiful part of West Cork. The Model Railway Village welcomes this project to Clonakilty. The historic odour problems that occurred in the town due to the limited capacity of the old plant have been significantly improved by the upgraded plant. We look forward to continuing to operate our business next to the new plant and look forward to the improvements it will bring, especially reduced odours. We have already noticed a substantial improvement since the new plant began operating in recent weeks.’