€22.8m plan to improve quality of Youghal beach water

Irish Water has confirmed it is ready to go ahead with a €22.8m project which should significantly improve water quality at one of the country’s premier beaches.

In the past few years, the front strand in Youghal, east Cork, has suffered from poor water quality. Swimming was banned on one occasion due to excessive levels of bacteria which have the potential to cause serious illness and even death among the elderly, or those with acute medical conditions.

Unacceptably high e coli levels have dogged beaches in the area, mainly due to a combination of the town not having a waste water treatment plant and run-off of cattle faeces down the Blackwater Valley into the bay during periods of heavy rain.

New sewer pipes have already been laid to serve the planned treatment plant.

But a foreshore licence for discharge of treated water into Youghal bay is still pending and has to be issued before the utility can start work on the sewerage plant.

When the licence is approved, Irish Water says it will take 18 to 24 months to complete the project.

“It is not acceptable in a modern economy that so many of our towns are discharging raw sewage directly into the environment and that so many of our waste water treatment plants fail to regularly operate to environmental standards,” said Jerry Grant, head of asset management at Irish Water.

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