9 November 2019, Saturday
By Bryan Smyth
Cork has a poor history with sod turnings! the long-awaited Event Centre on South Main Street is still in limbo despite a sod turning prior to the last General Election, but a separate unrelated sod turning on Friday by a different politician seem more positive; it has the hallmarks of a project that will begin quickly, and reach a conclusion.
Irish Water, in partnership with Cork City Council, has marked the start of a landmark project to upgrade Cork’s Lee Road Water Treatment plant to ensure it meets the needs of a growing population and supports the ongoing economic development of Cork City. The upgraded plant will supply water to over 70% of the population of Cork City, ensuring a safe and secure water supply for the rapidly growing city.
A Sod Turning Ceremony to mark the start of the works was performed by the Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Fergal Dennehy, and representatives from Irish Water and Cork City Council.
The upgraded plant will include modern water treatment infrastructure that will supply over 70% of the population of Cork City. Drinking water treatment began at the historic Lee Road Water Treatment Plant site 140 years ago in 1879. Before then, Cork City’s water supply scheme was first established in 1768 at the historic Old Cork Waterworks, where the event took place.
There have been several upgrades to Lee Road Water Treatment Plant since 1879, but no major upgrades since the 1950s. The proposed works will replace existing treatment facilities at the plant, which is currently listed on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL). The RAL identifies supplies that are in need of improvement.
Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “I..As we have seen with recent events clean water is vital for homes and families across the country and the investment by Government in this infrastructure will ensure a safe, secure and sustainable water supply in Cork city for many years to come. We are here on the site of the original water supply scheme for Cork City which was established more than 250 years ago and marked a crucial step in the city’s development. This latest investment is another important milestone in securing Cork’s water supply into the future.”
Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Fergal Dennehy, added: “…Cork is a thriving city and its ongoing growth and development is dependent on having a modern, fit-for-purpose water infrastructure. This investment is essential in safeguarding public health, supporting local businesses and attracting investment into the city.”
Eamon Gallen, Irish Water’s General Manager, commented: “Irish Water is committed to safeguarding our water for our future and the size and scale of this challenge should not be underestimated. We are working hard in every county, building new treatment plants, fixing pipes, tackling leakage and upgrading existing infrastructure so that we can provide our customers with the best possible service.
“This major upgrade of the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant is a key project for Irish Water. Along with other investments in the water supply network across the city and county, it will provide state-of-the-art water treatment facilities, bringing enormous benefits for the people of Cork.”
Irish Water has recently signed a two-year contract with J. Murphy & Sons Ltd., to deliver this project. The works are expected to take approximately two years to complete.