19 August 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland, has signed a contract with EPS and Sorensen Civil Engineering Joint Venture for the construction of a new €12.5 million wastewater treatment plant in Youghal, Co. Cork, as part of the Youghal Main Drainage Scheme.
Youghal is one of 44 towns in Ireland where untreated sewage is discharged directly into the sea. Irish Water is investing a total of €22.9 million in the Youghal Main Drainage Scheme, which is made up of two components, a new wastewater treatment plant and upgrade works on the sewer network. Once these works are completed, sewage in the town will be collected and directed to the new wastewater treatment plant. Treated effluent will then be safely discharged to the Blackwater Estuary off Ferry Point.
The project will prevent raw sewage being discharged into the sea in the vicinity of Front Strand Beach in Youghal. Front Strand Beach was one of seven Irish beaches rated ’Poor’ in the recent EPA Bathing Water Quality Report. The EPA Report, which monitored water quality during the 2014 bathing water season, takes account of the many issues that can contaminate beach areas, including poor water quality resulting from sewage discharge. The completion of the Youghal Main Drainage Scheme will improve water quality on Youghal Front Strand and will have an extremely positive impact on Youghal’s future economic growth and its vital tourism sector. The Project will also assist in the protection of bathing waters at other nearby beaches such as Claycastle and Redbarn.
The works being carried out by Irish Water will provide the flexibility to deal with population growth in the Youghal area, allow for increasing tourist numbers and provide capacity for industrial and commercial development.
Commenting on the contract signing, Mark Murray, Wastewater Networks Regional Lead, Irish Water said,’ Irish Water is delighted to have an agreed contract with EPS and Sorensen for a vital piece of infrastructure in the Youghal Main Drainage Scheme. Youghal is a beautiful seaside town in East Cork and a popular tourist destination. This project will improve water quality at Front Strand Beach for the benefit of tourists and locals and allow for continued growth and development in Youghal into the future. Irish Water’s priority is to develop the infrastructure capable of providing quality water services nationwide. The Youghal Main Drainage Scheme is a prime example of how we are delivering on our programme for investment and working towards delivering the necessary improvements in an efficient and timely manner, ensuring our customers receive a quality service and value for money.’
Irish Water invested €340m in improving water and wastewater services in 2014 and will invest over €410 million in improving water services during 2015. This spend will increase over subsequent years. Capital investment of approximately €600m per year is required for a sustained period of several decades, in order to address the acknowledged deficiencies in the country’s water infrastructure.