Plans greenlighted for construction of second wastewater treatment plant in Dublin
Residents, farmers, water sport clubs and environmentalists vow to take the case to EU institutions, fearing the effect on local land and sea
- November 15, 2019 16:00
- Plamen Petrov
Does Dublin need a second wastewater treatment plant? According to Irish Water, which cites the rapid population growth and overcapacity problems at Ringsend plant, including a recent leakage that prompted the closure of beaches, the answer is an unequivocal Yes.
According to local residents, however, the new plant at Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport will do more harm than good. The planned facility quickly earned the label a "monster sewage plant" and provoked more than 14,000 objections.
Yesterday independent appeals body An Bord Pleanála put environmental concerns on hold and greenlighted the €500 million euro project, local media reported.
Previously, Irish Water had applied for planning permission and a compulsory purchase order to build a 13 km underground orbital sewer from Blanchardstown to the planned wastewater treatment plant’s location that will intercept existing flows to Ringsend. An additional 12 km outfall pipeline will bring the treated wastewater from there for discharge out to sea, around 1km of Ireland's Eye.
The government water utility company claims that sea conditions there will allow for "optimal dispersal" of the liquid waste which will be treated with ultraviolet disinfectant prior to disposal. According to the company, even in the unlikely scenario of a failure of the plant, bathing water quality will not be compromised because of the high natural dispersal characteristics of the area.
An Bord Pleanála made an environmental impact assessment and said in its decision that the plant would have positive long-term impacts to population and human health, by providing adequate wastewater treatment and supporting planned residential development. It also stated that the plant would protect bathing water standards by reducing reliance on the Ringsend facility. The board also promised strict odour control measures once the plant is built.
The board conceded there would be negative temporary effects during construction involving noise, vibration and disturbance which may prompt the rehousing of some residents. It qualified the effect on marine mammals and birds during construction as "slight or short and very localised”.
Why locals oppose the plan
Local residents, farmers, water sport clubs and environmentalists had opposed the plan fearing the effect on the local land and the sea. They had questioned the effect on Dublin Bay's biosphere which is UNESCO designated and particularly that of Ireland’s Eye near the outfall.
Many local politicians made submissions questioning the plan including Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton who represents Dublin Bay North.
Local campaigners had vowed to take the case to the EU institutions.
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