10th April 2012


“A number of smaller local wastewater treatment plants in Fingal would cause more environmental damage than one new regional wastewater treatment plant”, Peter O’Reilly, Project Engineer, Fingal County Council said after a meeting of the Elected Members of Fingal County Council on Tuesday 10th April, when they were updated by the project’s consultant Ciaran O’Keeffe on the Greater Dublin Drainage project.  “Both the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study (GDSDS) in 2005 and the Strategic Environment Assessment in 2008 confirm that the local rivers and streams in north Dublin are too small to be able to absorb treated water from a number of smaller plants.  One regional plant will have a lesser impact on the environment than a number of smaller plants”, he said.

Mr O’Reilly, who is Project Engineer for the Greater Dublin Drainage project which is required to identify a suitable location in north Dublin for a new regional wastewater treatment works, a marine outfall and an orbital sewer, will tell the Elected Members that the Technical Consultants are still considering the more than 10,000 submissions received from the public during the most recent, pre-Christmas non-statutory public consultation.  


 “The Consultants are working to narrow the search from the nine large land parcels already identified last year, to as few as three specific emerging preferred sites, by this summer”, he said.  “Extensive further studies will then be required on those shortlisted sites and there will be further non-statutory consultation will local people and all other interested stakeholders on each of the shortlisted sites, before one preferred site is selected towards the end of the year, as being the most suitable to go forward to seek planning approval from An Bord Pleanála.  The Bord will carry out its own statutory public consultation at that stage so there are opportunities for people to be involved in the process all the way through, before the final decision is made by the independent Bord.”


The quality of wastewater treatment to be provided at the new regional wastewater treatment plant will be determined by the need to meet the water quality standards in the marine environment of the Irish Sea and the need to meet all relevant EU and national legislation. 

Within the coastal zone of the study area, off north Co Dublin there are many designated bathing waters, some with “Blue Flag” status, as well as designated shellfish waters, Special Protection Areas (SPA’s) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The water discharged from the new regional plant will be assessed against water quality standards set out in the Quality of Shellfish Water Regulations, European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, Quality of Bathing Waters Regulations and the water quality standards required by the Blue Flag Beach programme. The level of treatment to be provided must ensure compliance with these quality standards.


The new regional wastewater treatment plant is needed in addition to the Ringsend plant, which is currently planned to be extended to its full capacity at which it will be able to treat wastewater from the equivalent of 2.1million people.  The regional plant in north Dublin will be two thirds smaller than the Ringsend plant. It will treat 350,000 population equivalent in 2020 when the plant opens and will be capable of treating up to 700,000 population equivalent when it is at full capacity by 2040.  Population equivalent includes wastewater from industries, hospitals, schools, offices, businesses etc as well as homes.    


The Greater Dublin Drainage project will include a marine outfall and a new orbital drainage system, linking into the existing drainage system which currently brings wastewater from Fingal to Ringsend for treatment. The GDD project is critical to secure the sustainable future of the Greater Dublin Area and will provide the essential wastewater infrastructure to support future jobs and enterprise.

To contact Greater Dublin Drainage project : Lo Call Information line: 1890 44 55 67 or email us at info@greaterdublindrainage.ie.




  1. Population of Fingal is confirmed at 273,991, an additional 33,999 people since Census 2006 and represents a 14.2% increase.
  2. Growth rate in the rest of the Greater Dublin Area is 6.2%, and nationally is 8.2%
  3. Population growth is unlike previous Censuses and is down to natural increase (baby boom) rather than development related.
  4. Population of Fingal remains the youngest in the country.  Average age is 32.9 years, the national average is 36.1 years.