26 November 2015
By David O’Sullivan
Old plant failed to meet environmental standards for the treatment of wastewater causing poor water quality in the River Stick and significant odour issues for the local community
Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and wastewater services throughout Ireland, in partnership with Cork County Council, announces official opening of Riverstick Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project was part of an overall investment of €1.35 million which also included construction of a new 500 metre water main. Construction works were carried out in tandem for both projects in order to minimise disruption to residents and businesses in Riverstick and generate cost efficiencies.
The old wastewater treatment plant at Riverstick was in very poor condition and failed to meet EU treatment standards. Capacity issues at the old plant, particular during periods of heavy rainfall, regularly resulted in overload and failure of the plant to adequately treat the wastewater. This also resulted in significant odour issues for the local community.
The new plant, located on a greenfield site to the south of Riverstick Village, provides for a population equivalent (PE) of 1,000, more than double that of the old plant, and will ensure wastewater is treated to the required environmental levels to meet current and future social and economic growth. Detailed testing is showing that treatment standards are being met and the plant has been operating successfully for a number of months. The improved treatment standards will ensure water quality in the River Stick is protected. The works were carried out in tandem with the construction of a new 500 metre water main through the Village as part of the Belgooly Water Supply Scheme.
“This is a vital piece of infrastructure for the many homes and businesses in Riverstick,” said Aisling Buckley, Regional Information Officer, Irish Water. “Addressing critical issues with the wastewater infrastructure across the country, such as in the case of Riverstick where the old plant lacked sufficient capacity and processes to adequately treat wastewater, is a priority. Where possible we also try to carry out works in tandem with other projects in the area so as to minimise disruption for local residents. Riverstick is an example of how we can achieve this and reduce capital costs in the process.”
Cllr. Alan Coleman, former Mayor of Cork County Council and a resident in Riverstick, congratulated Irish Water on the success of the Riverstick project and the significant benefit it brings to the local community, “Being a Councillor from Riverstick, I am delighted with this investment. We were labouring under a lot of difficulty with the previous treatment plant, which despite constant repairs, was not fit for purpose. Irish Water followed up on Cork County Council’s commitment to complete this plant and it is a very positive investment in Riverstick, which is a growing community. Local residents are delighted with the improvements the plant has brought to the local environment. This plant provides for future development in Riverstick. For example, there are plans to develop an 88-unit Nursing Home in Riverstick and this could not go ahead without the new plant. The new Nursing Home will bring construction jobs and permanent jobs to the area. I also welcome the completion of an Advance Works Contract for water network improvements in Belgooly by Irish Water, which will minimise future disruption to road users in the area.”
Irish Water invested €340 million in improving water and waste water services in 2014 and will invest over €410 million in improving water services during 2015. This spend will increase further over subsequent years. Capital investment in the region of €600 million per year is required for a sustained period of several decades to address the acknowledged deficiencies in the country’s water infrastructure. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in Irish Water’s recently published Business Plan. Delivery of the business plan will involve a €5.5bn investment in capital spending on drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure up to 2021.