1 September 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Irish Water is halfway to its goal of a sewage-free Cork Lower Harbour, creating big opportunities for social, economic and amenity development in the area.
When the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project started in 2015, the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage was discharged into the Lower Harbour every day. Working in partnership with Cork County Council, we have now reduced this figure to 20,000 by building a new wastewater treatment plant in Shanbally, and repairing and extending the sewer network to connect more harbour areas to the plant. We’re now halfway towards our goal which is a sewage-free harbour by 2021.
This will being major benefits for all by enhancing the harbour’s amenity value and providing the infrastructure to enable the future growth and development of communities in the Lower Harbour area. It will also ensure that we are compliant with all European and national legislation in relation to the treatment of wastewater
Creating a conversation in the local community
Keeping the local communities informed about the project and its long lasting benefits, while also listening carefully to their feedback has been a top priority for Irish Water since the project began.
We have been engaging directly with local residents and businesses as well as schools, voluntary groups, and elected representatives so that we can deliver this essential project while also minimising disruption to all those who live and work in these communities.
We have also been using local print, broadcast and social media and digital platforms to create a conversation around the project in the lower harbour area. The project website – https://www.water.ie/projects-plans/cork-lower-harbour/ – contains detailed information about the project and what it means for people in the area. This includes a video outlining the path towards a cleaner harbour environment and safer amenity for everyone.
Project Manager Déaglán Healy explained the value of this type of engagement: “This is an incredibly important project with massive benefits for everyone living in the lower harbour area for many years to come. As with any development of this scale however, some disruption is unavoidable. We are very conscious of this and it is our top priority to do everything we can to minimise it, while also delivering this project on time and to the highest standard”.
“For that reason we are engaged in an ongoing conversation with people in Ringaskiddy, Carrigaline, Rafeen, Shanbally, Passage West, Glenbrook, Monkstown – people living in the Lower Harbour area – to allow us understand their needs and concerns and to communicate the long term benefits that a sewage free harbour will have for all of us who live and work here. We are using all the means at our disposal to help us carry on this conversation, from radio, newspapers and social media to ongoing direct engagement with all the local communities affected. We are confident this will help us in delivering the best outcome for everyone involved.”
Passage West and Monkstown are open for business
The new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally began operations in December 2016 treating wastewater from Carrigaline, Crosshaven and Shanbally. Currently works are ongoing in Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy and Glenbrook and the contractor, Ward and Burke Group Limited, is working to install the new sewer network in Passage West and Monkstown. This new sewer network will take sewage – which currently discharges untreated from these areas – to the treatment plant in Shanbally.
While there is no through road at Passage West Library, diversions are in place and all businesses in Passage West and Monkstown can be accessed by car and on foot and we are working to ensure that the community and customers are aware that Passage West and Monkstown remain open for business. Feedback received from the local community has been essential in allowing the project team to put measures in place to mitigate the impact of this work and ensure that access is maintained at all times. We are working closely with local businesses and residents of all areas and encourage anyone with questions or who would like to be kept informed about the project to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Déaglán Healy added: “We would like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience as we work to complete this work and for the valuable feedback they have given us. We acknowledge that there has been disruption but thanks to the input from people in the area, we have been able to put measures in place to minimise this as much as possible and ensure that Passage West and Monkstown remain fully open for business.”
“As we progress onto the next phases of the project we will continue to take on board all feedback and do everything we can to minimise the impact of this construction work.”