Kilcummin and Kenmare among areas to gain from Uisce Éireann investment in Kerry
Radio-friendly audio clip attached with Uisce Éireann wastewater spokesperson Michael Tinsley
Wednesday, 25 October 2023: Uisce Éireann’s investment in Ireland’s wastewater infrastructure is benefiting communities around the country by supporting sustainable growth and development, enhancing water quality and protecting the environment.
The latest EPA Urban Wastewater Treatment Report published today, shows the progress being made in tackling long-running issues like raw sewage discharges, while also underlining the need for continued investment in our essential wastewater services.
2022 saw the highest annual investment in wastewater to date as Uisce Éireann continues to make progress in priority areas such as locations where there is raw sewage entering the rivers, lakes and the sea, and sites identified by the European Court of Justice under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. The building, repair and upgrading of Ireland’s wastewater treatment plants and sewer network will require a multi-billion euro investment programme over many years. Éireann is focussed on delivering the best possible service improvements, while maximising return on investment.
28 areas around the country are benefiting today from cleaner waters and enhanced amenities due to the construction of new wastewater treatment plants where none existed previously. There are currently 11 more locations under construction. This means that over 70% of all raw sewage discharges nationwide have now been eliminated, with the majority of the remainder set to end by 2025.
Uisce Éireann is also driving sustained improvement in existing wastewater treatment standards. Last year 91% of Ireland’s treatment plants were fully compliant with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. For those plants that are not currently achieving compliance, Uisce Éireann has a plan of action to address any deficiencies and bring them up to the appropriate standard as quickly as possible.
In Kerry, we have two significant wastewater projects underway in Kilcummin and Kenmare[GC1] . In Kenmare, Uisce Éireann is investing €25 million in upgrading the treatment plant. When complete, this project will improve water quality in the River Finnihy and increase capacity at the plant and enable long-term social and economic development of Kenmare. Our project in Kilcummin will accommodate future population growth and enhance the local environment. It will ensure compliance with wastewater discharge regulations, improve water quality in the River Deenagh and Lough Leane, and protect recreational waters for swimming, fishing, boating and sightseeing.
Projects under our Small Towns and Villages Growth Programme are also planned in Fenit and Knightstown. These projects will be progressed through the current and future investment cycles, subject to approval and planning.
Brian Sheehan, Uisce Éireann’s Head of Infrastructure Delivery, noted that: Ending raw sewage discharges and improving wastewater treatment for communities across the country are priorities for Uisce Éireann. We are making huge strides in addressing these issues and we are now seeing real and tangible benefits from the unprecedented level of investment in this essential infrastructure. To date over 70% of raw sewage discharges nationwide have been eliminated and we are on track to end the majority by 2025. Our targeted programme of investment in existing wastewater plants and networks is also helping to protect the environment and enhance water quality.
“The timely delivery of this infrastructure and these services is a critical component in supporting sustainable social and economic development. Last year we invested over €1bn in water and wastewater projects, and we will need to maintain this level of funding in the years to come. It will also be necessary to address existing issues in our planning and approvals system so that large scale critical infrastructure can progress within a reasonable timeframe. We will continue to work with Government and our regulators, including the EPA and CRU, to ensure we can rise to the challenge of delivering transformative wastewater services to enable communities to thrive.”