Irish Water confirms proposals to upgrade water treatment plants in Donegal

Irish Water has confirmed that it is advancing plans to upgrade the two drinking water treatment plants at Lettermacaward and Killybegs.

This will ensure sufficient clean drinking water to this region of West Donegal, including the area supplied by the Glenties/Ardara Public Supply. The supply currently providing water to the Glenties/Ardara area is on the EPA’s Remedial Action List due to water quality risks associated with it and is not suitable for providing a long term drinking water supply for the area.

Sean Corrigan, Regional Information Officer with Irish Water explained. “Irish Water’s priority is to deal with the public water supplies at Portnoo/Nairn, Fintown and Glenties/Ardara that are currently on EPA’s Remedial Action List, meaning there is a threat to them being able to continue supplying sufficient drinking water locally”, he explained. “The most cost effective way to secure water supply for this area for the long term is to upgrade the water treatment plants at Lettermacaward and Killybegs providing long term capacity for existing five supplies in the region. The existing substandard treatment plants at Portnoo/Nairn, Fintown and Glenties/Ardara will be decommissioned. This solution is the most cost effective and it also has a lower risk attached in terms of securing the necessary planning and environmental permissions required to provide future quality water supply.”

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All untreated drinking water sources are vulnerable to seasonal and other effects including high rainfall, catchment runoff, sewage and animal waste. The raw water supply in Lough Anna and the other source in the area are vulnerable to Ecoli, Coliforms, cryptosporidium and pesticides that are potentially harmful to human health. Significant treatment of these raw waters is required is needed to meet the required standards set out in the drinking water regulations”, Sean Corrigan explained.

“The existing water scheme supplying the Glenties/Ardara area is not sufficient to meet the projected future water requirement for this area,” Sean Corrigan continued. “The cost of upgrading the two largest treatment plants in this region is lower than the cost of providing separate treatment plants to the individual schemes within the area. The Lough Ana source is also not favoured due to multiple environmental designations attached to the lake and the sensitive bog land surrounding it”, Sean Corrigan said.

Irish Water invested €340m in improving water and wastewater services in 2014 and will invest over €410 million in improving water services during 2015. This spend will increase in the coming years subsequent years. Capital investment of approximately €600m per year is required for a sustained period of several decades, in order to address the acknowledged deficiencies in the country’s water infrastructure.