Wastewater Treatment in the Greater Dublin Area

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wastewater treatment facilities form part of the primary infrastructure network necessary to facilitate essential development like housing, hospitals, schools, and industry. Today, development in some parts of the Dublin region is constrained, due in part, to a lack of essential infrastructure.

Wastewater generated in the Greater Dublin Area is currently treated at eight main wastewater treatment plants (as shown below) and at more than fifty local facilities.

The majority of the main plants are ‘regional’ in that they serve more than one town, city area or region. For example, the largest treatment facility at Ringsend currently serves Dublin City, South Dublin, part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, part of Fingal and a small part of Co. Meath.

The Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study (GDSDS, 2005) examined how future demand for wastewater treatment can be met. It recommended that all of the main regional WwTPs be upgraded to their ultimate capacities. As shown below, some of these upgrades are complete, others are currently in planning, and some are planned for the future. The current and future treatment capacities (expressed in Population Equivalent (PE) 2) for these facilities are as follows;

However, the GDSDS also identified that, even with these upgrades, due to the projected increases in population and industry in Dublin and in the surrounding counties of Kildare and Meath, there is a need to develop an additional regional wastewater treatment facility in order to meet future demand. The Greater Dublin Drainage project aims to provide this additional capacity by the time it is needed in the early to mid 2020’s.

The Greater Dublin Drainage project will consist of:
  • a new wastewater treatment plant (WwTP) on a 23-hectare site at Clonshagh (Clonshaugh);
  • an underground orbital sewer and two pumping stations;
  • an outfall pipe from the watewater treatment plant discharging to the Irish Sea (approximately 1km north-east of Ireland's Eye).
At operation, over 50% of the wastewater treated at this new regional plant at Clonshagh (Clonshaugh) will come from Fingal including from part of the North Fringe area (Dublin Airport, Meakstown, Grange/Baldoyle) as well as from the Blanchardstown catchment. The remainder will come from the northern fringes of Dublin City and south east Meath – intercepting sewers that currently go to Ringsend.

The new GDD facility will form a key part of the regional drainage network and will enable residential and commercial development to occur both in Fingal and in the greater Dublin area.

The GDD project will protect the environment and help to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and other relevant EU and national water quality regulations.

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