Irish Water was recently joined by the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor Padraig Fleming to officially mark the opening of the newly upgraded Portarlington Wastewater Treatment Plant. The €1.96M investment in upgrades to the Treatment Plant has significantly improved its performance, benefitting local residents and the surrounding environment and ensuring compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and the Environmental Protection Agency discharge licence.
The upgrade works were carried out over 8 months and included, installation of standby screen and grit removal system, replacement the surface aerators with fine bubble diffused aeration, upgrades to telemetry monitoring, upgrades to the sludge thickening system and access road. The upgrade works will ensure that treated effluent meets effluent compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations and the EPA Waste Water Discharge Licence. The Portarlington Wastewater Treatment Plant is listed in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) infringement notice. Prior to the upgrade, the plant was non-compliant with Article 4 (Treatment).
The plant was constructed in 1986 with a design capacity of 8,000 PE. In 2009, a short term solution increased the capacity by 5,000 PE to 13,000 PE. The effluent from the WWTP is discharged to the River Barrow which is located in an area designated as a Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). It was vital that the plant was upgraded to ensure the discharges did not have a negative impact on this important river.
Commenting on the project Paul Fallon, Wastewater Infrastructure Programme Manager with Irish Water said “We are delighted today to officially mark the opening of the newly upgraded Portarlington Wastewater Treatment Plant. Investment in the Portarlington Wastewater Treatment plant has increased the efficiency of the plant. This investment will benefit the environment as the plant is now compliant and discharges into the River Barrow are compliant with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations and the EPA Waste Water Discharge Licence. This investment will support economic development in Portarlington for years to come.”
Speaking at the event, Cllr. Padraig Fleming, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council said, ‘Wastewater infrastructure that is of the required standard is of vital importance to the town of Portarlington. This investment by Irish Water, in partnership with Laois County Council, means our wastewater infrastructure is compliant with both national and European standards and can support continued growth in Portarlington.'
Investing in Ireland’s wastewater infrastructure is a key priority for Irish Water. Between 2014 and 2015, Irish Water invested €166m in Ireland’s wastewater infrastructure, an increase of 22% from 2011 to 2013. From 2016 – 2021, the remaining period of the Irish Water Business Plan, the utility is ramping up investment to spend an average of €326M per year on wastewater infrastructure. The investment in the Portarlington Wastewater Treatment Plant is part of this investment programme.
Irish Water collects wastewater from over 1,000 separate communities connected to the wastewater network and treats around 1,600 million litres of wastewater daily before discharging it back into our rivers, harbours and coastal areas. By 2021, as outlined in the Irish Water Business Plan, we plan to have all discharges to our rivers and seas treated before being released. Our programme of work will include, not only improving capacity to ensure Irish Water can facilitate the growth of the new homes and industry but also protecting our coasts, which has a huge impact on tourism and local businesses.
SOURCE: Irish Water