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Irish Water gets green light for new wastewater treatment facility

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Irish Water has received the go-ahead for its Greater Dublin Drainage (GDD) project in North Dublin, in the form of planning permission from An Bord Pleanála.

Anticipated population growth and increased commercial activity means that the volume of wastewater generated in the greater Dublin area will increase by more than 50% in the next 30 years.

The provision of adequate wastewater treatment capacity is essential to protect public health, safeguard the environment and facilitate this growth, according to Irish Water.

“Today’s announcement is a landmark planning decision for the sustainable growth of the Dublin area,” commented Seán Laffey, head of asset management for Irish Water. “The GDD project is vital for residential and commercial development across north Dublin and south Fingal. New homes and businesses can only be built with new wastewater infrastructure to support them. GDD will also alleviate pressure within the wider wastewater network. It will help to ensure that the wastewater generated every day in our homes, schools and workplaces is treated safely, in compliance with the EU and national wastewater treatment regulations.”

An underground pipeline will collect and transfer wastewater via a new pumping station at Abbotstown, from Blanchardstown to an advanced wastewater treatment facility in Clonshaugh. The treated water will be returned to the Irish Sea via a 6km marine outfall pipeline from Baldoyle to a point located 1km north-east of Ireland’s Eye.

The project is also expected to include development of a regional sludge treatment centre at the GDD site and an associated biosolids storage facility at Newtown near Kilshane Cross.

Project Ireland 2040

The delivery of the GDD project is an investment priority under Project Ireland 2040 and is a key objective of the regional guidelines and local development plans. Progressing the project has been a priority for Irish Water since it took responsibility for water and wastewater services in 2014.  Achieving planning consent is an important milestone in the delivery of the project.

The next step is to progress with a detailed design and contractor procurement process. When complete, the construction stage is expected to take three years.

“I want to acknowledge the previous work of Fingal County Council in bringing the GDD project through the early stages and to thank all of the individuals and organisations who took part in the extensive consultations on this project to date,” Laffey concluded.

The new wastewater treatment facility is expected to become operational from 2026 and will be able to provide wastewater treatment for the equivalent of half a million people living and working in the region.