Athea to reap benefits from state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant

Patrick O'Donovan TD and Alan Morrissey from Irish Water along with 6th class students from Athea NS, Anna Ahern, Emma Scanlon, Jamie Collins and Tomas Ahern. Photo by Diarmuid Greene

The opening of Athea’s new Wastewater Treatment Plant is the equivalent of upgrading from 1970s Cortina to a 2019 Hybrid Electric Vehicle, bringing greatly improved performance and much higher levels of environmental protection.

That was the message to members of the local community and elected representatives who joined staff from Irish Water, Limerick City and County Council and contractors for a tour of the newly opened plant in Athea this week.

The new plant, which was developed by Irish Water in partnership with Limerick City and County Council, represents an investment of almost €2m in the local community which will help protect the environment and support ongoing growth and development in Athea.

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Speaking at the opening event, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan said the plant would bring very significant benefits to the local community.

“I am delighted see this new wastewater treatment plant up and running. This is an important investment which will bring big benefits to Athea now and for many years to come. Athea is a thriving community which has always taken enormous pride in its local environment and heritage through the great work of groups like the Tidy Towns and the Community Council.

“The completion of this treatment plant after so many years is a further boost to the community and its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The state-of-the art wastewater treatment it provides will protect the River Galey and other local waterways while also ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to ensure Athea can continue to grow and thrive.”

Irish Water’s Alan Morrissey explained that the new plant represented a big leap forward in the quality of wastewater treatment.

“The original wastewater treatment plant was built in the 1940s and was no longer fit for purpose. Environmental standards have improved a great deal since then, while population growth and lifestyle changes have added to the need for much improved wastewater treatment. This new plant will ensure that wastewater from Athea will be treated to the high standards set out by the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations, safeguarding water quality in the River Galey and other local waterways and ensuring the treatment capacity is in place to support growth and development in Athea for years to come.

“The old plant provided many years of good service but standards, expectations and technology have moved on and this new system means better performance, higher safety standards and enhanced environmental protection. That is very good news for the local community.”

TES Group Limited and Nicholas O’Dwyer Consulting Engineers were the main parties involved in delivering the project on behalf of Irish Water’s Capital Programmes. Construction got underway in summer 2018 and the new treatment plant was completed and commissioned in recent weeks.

The work involved decommissioning the old primary treatment system and building a new wastewater treatment plant, upgrading the existing pumping station and constructing a new 500m rising main from the pumping station to the treatment plant. This project has upgraded and modernised several elements of the wastewater treatment process at the plant.

During the site visit, staff from TES Group, Nicholas O’Dwyer Consulting Engineers and Irish Water showed the guests around the plant and explained the complex processes involved in treating wastewater so that it can be returned safely to the environment. A video on how wastewater is treated can be viewed on the Irish Water website at .