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Enormous Clean-Up Of Cork Harbour Underway

With the equivalent of 20,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage being released into Cork Harbour every day from the communities living around it, Irish Water’s efforts to clean up the harbour are well underway.

In The Carrigdhoun this week, we examine the extent of the works being undertaken.

In partnership with Cork County Council, Irish Water is working to end this decades-long practice of dumping sewage and clean up the harbour through its investment in the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project.

Despite the issues that have been caused for residents of the harbour area with road closures, traffic and service disruption, the greater good of a much-improved harbour is the end goal. Cleaner water in Cork Harbour will have major benefits in terms of protecting the environment and the health of local communities, facilitating economic development and providing for a growing population.

Since the project got underway in 2014, Irish Water have halved the amount of raw sewage being discharged into the harbour – down from the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins every day to 20,000. By the time the project is completed in 2021, this will be reduced to zero.

The project involves the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally, 14 pumping stations, 30km of new pipelines as well as repairing 25km of old pipes. By the time it is completed, all wastewater from Cobh, Passage West, Glenbrook, Monkstown, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy and Shanbally will be fully treated before being safely returned to the environment.


Substantial progress has been made to date, including the opening of the treatment plant in Shanbally in April 2017 and the construction of a new sewer network around Carrigaline, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy. Work is currently underway in the Passage West-Monkstown area to build new pumping stations and sewers to take wastewater from homes and businesses in the area to the treatment plant in Shanbally.

An important milestone was reached in Monkstown recently with the installation of the underground structure that will house the pumping station at Monkstown carpark. This structure – or ‘caisson’ – was built above ground and then sunk into its final position in order to minimise the time and disruption associated with constructing it underground.


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