A major overhaul of the wastewater and sewerage system in the Letterkenny area was formally initiated yesterday with the turning of the sod for the first phase of the 25.8 million euro development.
Describing it as a “huge vote of confidence” in Letterkenny, Town Mayor councillor Tadhg Culbert, who performed the official ceremony, said that at a time of economic hardship it was encouraging to see such funding being pumped into the town.
“It’s a massive investment and one that will cater for a population of up to 40,000 whenever Letterkenny does begin to grow again,” he insisted.
The sod was turned at the site for a new sludge treatment centre at Bunagee which forms part of the development.
The works are being designed and built by the contracting consortium of Response Engineering Ltd. and Severn Trent Services International. TOBIN Consulting Engineers are providing design services to the group while Ward & Burke Construction Ltd. have been sub-contracted to carry out the civil engineering construction works.
The new plant is expected to be completed and running early in 2013 and will cost 25,867,985 euro. The operational contract is for a period of twenty years following completion of the project.
Early next month, the contractors will take over the operation of the existing treatment plant.
A statement from the County Council welcomed the development. “The current treatment works has inadequate capacity to treat all wastewater generated in Letterkenny. The new works will provide adequate capacity to treat current levels of wastewater arising and some additional capacity for the future at the site of the existing works at Magheranan, a new facility to treat wastewater sludge at Bunagee and a much improved system to deal with stormwater overflows at Ballyraine.”
Works to be provided under the contract include a new wastewater treatment plant at Magheranan with capacity of 40,000 population equivalent; a new outfall diffuser system at the point where the treated effluent is discharged into Lough Swilly and replacement of pipework from the treatment works to the outfall; and the construction of a new plant at Ballyraine for the collection and detention of stormwater overflows and their return to the wastewater plant for treatment, with a provision for a screened discharge of peak flows into the River Swilly.
The investment also entails the new sludge treatment centre at Bunagee with a capacity of 2,500 tonnes dry solid per annum - the second such centre in the county - and the replacement of the existing main trunk sewer from Ballyraine to Magheranan including a new inlet pumping station.
Senior engineer, Peadar MacRory detailed aspects of the development to members of the Letterkenny Electoral Area Committee at their meeting yesterday.
Welcoming the project, councillor Noel McBride described it as “long overdue” and voiced the hope that it would provide much needed employment to the area.
Commenting on complaints from local residents concerning noise and odours at the existing plant, Mr. MacRory said the new plant had been designed to a much higher standard.
He was unable to specify who would operate the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Sludge Treatment Centre on the completion of the twenty year contract.