Irish Water has announced multimillion-euro plans to upgrade a sewage treatment system in Cork which will facilitate the building of thousands of new homes.
The utility is to upgrade capacity at the sewage treatment system in the greater Midleton area. This will allow for more house construction and the building of a new town planned for Waterrock, between Midleton and Carrigtwohill.
Phase one of the project will see the construction of a pumping station and 6.2km of pipes in the Waterrock area. Irish Water says this will provide the infrastructure required for the county council’s plans to develop the new town there.
A spokesman for Irish Water said planning permission has already been acquired for the pumping station and site investigation works for the project will be completed by the summer. Land acquisitions required for the work should be completed by summer 2021.
It is expected phase one will be fully operational by 2023. This will allow for the construction of about 2,550 homes in Waterrock.
In the meantime, Irish Water is also assessing whether it can pump some existing sewage flows in the region to the state-of-the-art sewage-treatment centre at Carrigtwohill.
The utility recently invested millions of euro in upgrading that plant and it is currently operating at one third of its new capacity.
Diverting sewage there from the Midleton area would reduce volumes being treated at the town’s treatment plant and free up more capacity in that area for further house building.
Irish Water plans to then undertake phase two of the project which would involve the design, upgrade, and construction of wastewater networks and infrastructure between Midleton and Carrigtwohill.
The utility said this will facilitate the construction of another 5,000 houses. It is expected this part of the project will be completed in 2026.
Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality David Stanton, who lives in Midleton, said he was delighted to hear Irish Water’s confirmation that it is to proceed with the projects.
“With a sustained demand for both social and private housing in the Midleton area, Irish Water and Cork County Council, have outlined the necessity for infrastructure upgrades to facilitate future population growth and local economic development,” he said.
He said he hopes Irish Water can increase capacity in the Midleton area ahead of its proposed schedule. “We need this in order to facilitate planned developments to proceed as quickly as possible. I am certain that these works will be of enormous benefit in encouraging further development in Midleton and Carrigtwohill and I understand that several developers are already seeking planning permission for local projects.”
The council wants to develop as much housing as it can along the Cork-Midleton railway corridor so workers can commute by train.
In 2015, council planners unveiled two ‘masterplans’ to rezone 120 hectares of land north of the railway line at Carrigtwohill and a further 160 hectares at Waterrock for housing.
It is also proposed to build a new railway station at Waterrock.