Communities against a super sewage treatment plant have vowed to step up their campaign after three proposed sites were shortlisted.
Two sites near Lusk in north Co Dublin and one in Clonshaugh, about 2km from Dublin Airport, have been earmarked by Dublin Greater Drainage.
The Reclaim Fingal Alliance campaign group said it will continue its battle against a large scale treatment plant anywhere in the area and instead fight for smaller, locally based systems.
Brian Hosford, chairman, said residents were outraged at the decision to locate a facility of this size in an area that already deals locally with its own wastewater.
More than 10,000 residents lodged objections against the plant, fearing it will have a detrimental effect on an important farming and horticulture region and destroy the local fishing industry and an environmentally sensitive coastline, which has several areas of special protection.
Mr Hosford demanded a cost benefit analysis and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to examine the economic and social consequences of a potential environmental disaster and to take account of population changes and the State’s new economic reality.
“We call again for the completion of a new SEA that takes into account the economic and demographic changes that have occurred since the preparation of the original report,” he said.
The three sites earmarked are Annsbrook, 2.7km west of Lusk; Newtowncorduff, 1km west of Lusk – both with a marine outfall pipe in the vicinity of Loughshinny – and Clonshaugh, 2.2km east of Dublin Airport, which would have an outfall pipe to the north east of Ireland’s Eye.
Project engineers said a new regional wastewater treatment plan is needed in addition to the Ringsend plant, which is planned to be extended to its full capacity to treat wastewater for a population of 2.1 million people.
They maintained the regional plant in north Dublin will initially be about one sixth the size of the Ringsend plant to cater for a population equivalent of 350,000 in 2020 when the plant opens.
It will be capable of treating up to 700,000 population equivalent when it is at full capacity by 2040.
Peter O’Reilly, project engineer for Fingal County Council, the preferred site needs to be a combination of the best location for the wastewater treatment plant, the new sewer and the marine outfall.
“We’re looking for the option that is best for the project, the one that will have the least impact on people and the environment,” he said.
“These three preferred sites all have merits. Therefore, in order to decide on the site that is most suitable for all three elements of the project, a lot more detailed technical studies will have to be carried out.
“We want to hear what people think should be considered as part of the selection for the final preferred site route and marine outfall and to hear any information relevant to the development of this much-needed project.”