A project aimed at ending the decades-long practice of discharging raw sewage into Cork Lower Harbour has taken a major step forward.
Irish Water this week announced that it has completed the connection of Ringaskiddy, Passage West and Monkstown to the Shanbally Wastewater Treatment Plant, meaning raw sewage from these areas will no longer discharge directly into the harbour.
Carried out as part of the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project, it means that 30,000 of the 40,000 wheelie bins worth of raw sewage that were discharging daily into Cork Lower Harbour when the project commenced in 2015 are now being treated before safe discharge to the harbour.
The construction of the Shanbally Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2017 initially halved the volume of sewage being discharged into the harbour through connecting Crosshaven, Carrigaline and Shanbally.
The addition of Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy, Passage West, Glenbrook and Monkstown since means that Irish Water, which is conducting the drainage project in partnership with Cork County Council, can now commence on the northern side of the harbour in Cobh.
Eamon Gallen, managing director at Irish Water, said: “This project is hugely important to improving the quality of water in Cork Lower Harbour. The completion of the network works on the south side of the harbour and the connection of Passage West and Monkstown is a significant milestone in our journey to a sewage-free harbour.”
Meanwhile, a major plan to upgrade Cork’s water supply is also expected to start next year.
Irish Water is set to apply to An Bord Pleanála to acquire certain city lands in order to construct two new pumping stations in Shanakiel and Harbour View, as well as replacing old cast iron water mains, which will reduce the likelihood of leaks or bursts.
The project is expected to begin in 2020, depending on statutory approvals. Irish Water said it is currently engaging with local stakeholders and the Cork City Council traffic department to “develop a plan to ensure public safety and minimise disruption while works are being carried out”.
Seán Twohig, infrastructure programme regional lead, said the project will “facilitate future economic growth and social development in Cork city".