The start of the €7.5 million upgrade to the Ardee Wastewater Treatment Plant was marked by the turning of the sod at the plant in Ardee this morning, with cathaoirleach of Louth County Council Colm Markey and Irish Water’s Paul Fallon on hand to do the honours.
Irish Water say the upgrade will see the capacity of the plant raised from 5,000pe to 10,000pe – which should more than faciliate the current usage and water flow in the town. The 10,000 population equivalent figure is higher than the previously thought 8,000pe upgrade.
The upgrade will take approximately 18 months to complete and work will include an upgrade to the Irish Street Wastewater Pumping Station. It will also involve designing and building sewer network upgrades in the town. The project is undertaken by Irish Water in partnership with Louth County Council but work is being carried out by Cork-based Electrical Pump & Services Ltd and Dublin-based civil engineering company Wills Bros Ltd.
TD’s Declan Breathnach and Fergus O’Dowd were in attendance at today’s ceremony to mark the official turning of the sod, as were Markey and his fellow Ardee Municipal District councillors Jim Tenanty and Dolores Minogue.
After speeches at the Mid-Louth Civic Services Centre by Markey and Irish Water’s Wastewater Infrastructure Programme Manager Paul Fallon, the sod was officially turned by the duo, with representatives from Irish Water, Louth County Council, EPS and Wills Bros Ltd also in attendance.
The existing wastewater treatment plant is currently at maximum capacity and the work, once completed, will ensure the plant meets Environmental Protection Agency discharge requirements.
Irish Water say other benefits of the project will include increased environmental protection as a result of increased control and reduction in the frequency and volume of untreated flows from the wastewater network into local watercourses and significant improvements in the quality of effluent discharged into the River Dee.
The scope of the works includes a range of upgrades to the existing Wastewater Treatment Plant including an increase in capacity and improvements in wastewater treatment processes, in addition to a programme of sewer rehabilitation in the town.
Speaking at the event councillor Markey, said “This is a significant infrastructure project for Co. Louth which will address deficiencies with wastewater treatment in Ardee and the surrounding area. This investment will sustain and enhance the environment by improving water quality in the River Dee while at the same time facilitating future growth and economic development by providing increased capacity at the treatment plant.
“It’s a great day for Ardee today. It’s going to set Ardee out,” he continued. “It’s about potential for investment as well. We all know Ardee has struggled in the last few years. This development will solve a lot of problems. Hopefully it will serve to put Ardee on a much stronger footing.
“It shows that Irish Water feel it is a priority. It’s vital that an investment like this happens in Ardee because it allows the town to expand by population and economically. You need infrastructure to develop. It’s only good news and hopefully other investments of this nature can be brought into the town in future.”
Also speaking at the event, Paul Fallon said, “For too long there has been serious underinvestment in wastewater services in Ireland.
“We have inadequate treatment processes and in too many cases untreated wastewater being discharged directly into our rivers and seas. Irish Water is delighted to be in a position to start the upgrade works on the Ardee Sewerage Scheme and the associated benefits the works will bring to the town once completed,” he continued.
“Irish Water and our partners Louth County Council will work hard to keep any disruption to residents, businesses and visitors to a minimum while this vital work is taking place. The works will be completed by a joint venture between Wills Bros Ltd. And EPS working on behalf of Irish Water and overseen by WSP Ireland and RPS.”
Construction is set to commence in the coming weeks and Irish Water say that EPS will take up running of the plant from Louth County Council, to allow the smoothest possible transition and management of the project. They saw upgrade will be done offline, meaning there will no impact on the current capacity of the plant or water flow in the town.
Earlier this year, the plant was being fed 6,000-6,5000pe which was overloading the facility and leading to a sewage overflow and odour problem in the town. The problem has been a long standing one for locals in Ardee especially in areas in close proximity to the treatment plant such as Tierney Street, Dawson’s Demesne and Old Dawson’ Demesne. The new Castleguard development is also in very close proximity to the plant.
The prospect of upgrading the waste water treatment plant in Ardee has been one that has dragged on for some time. A decade ago, Louth County Council took out an environmental impact study on the idea of upgrading it to a 12,500pe capacity.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie today, Ardee Municipal District councillor Dolores Minogue said, “Apart from the very high benefits this upgrade will bring, I am equally delighted for the residents of the area, those who avail of the fantastic Railway Walk and those who work in the area as the bad odour will be eliminated.
“This odour caused great concern for people over the years so on that alone I welcome this much needed upgrade,” she said.