– Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project




– Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project awarded Engineering Endeavour of 2021 accolade

A wastewater drainage project that has ended the decades-long practice of discharging raw sewage directly into Cork Lower Harbour has been awarded the prestigious Engineering Endeavour of 2021 accolade by Engineers Ireland.

Undertaken by Irish Water, the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project was awarded the prestigious accolade having featured in Engineers Ireland’s Engineering Excellence Digital Series, held in association with ESB, and was chosen by the public and members of Engineers Ireland as the top engineering project of 2021 following an online vote.

Following seven years of extensive engineering works and completed in September 2021, the drainage scheme now prevents the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage from Ringaskiddy, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Passage West, Monkstown and Cobh Town being discharged untreated each day into Cork Harbour, the second-largest natural harbour in the world.

The project was completed in a number of phases by Irish Water, which invested €144m to ensure that wastewater was collected and fully treated before its safe discharge into the harbour. In addition to constructing a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant in Shanbally, the project also involved two of the longest horizontal directional drills ever undertaken in Ireland to install sewer pipes over 1km long, some 60m below the Lee Estuary.

Over 20,000 businesses and homes are now connected to the new wastewater scheme, which will protect the environment and support the sustainable development and growth of local communities.

“A high degree of engineering ingenuity and skill was required across all phases of this project, and we are incredibly proud to receive the Engineering Endeavour of 2021 title,” commented Déaglán Healy, Project Manager, Irish Water. “We have come a long way since we started work on this project in 2014. Irish Water has eliminated 60% of raw sewage discharges across Ireland, and we are on track to remove 95% by 2025. This project brings huge benefits to communities around Cork Lower Harbour by protecting the environment and supporting the development of homes and businesses.

“This scheme and its benefits have been delivered safely through a hugely collaborative effort between Irish Water and our delivery partners, Cork County Council, Engineering Representatives and contract supervisors Nicholas O’ Dwyer Limited and Long O’Donnell Limited, Contractors Farrans Sorensen Joint Venture, O’Connor Utilities, Ward & Burke, EPS and Sisk and of course, all the communities and businesses whose cooperation and patience have allowed these works to succeed,” Healy added.

Professor Orla Feely, President of Engineers Ireland, said: “Engineers have a vital role to play to protect our environment and support our communities. The Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project is a fantastic example of how Ireland’s engineers develop creative and innovative solutions for society. By eliminating raw sewage discharge in these areas in Cork, this project has not only created a cleaner harbour for local communities, but it has also provided new opportunities for sustainable social and economic development.”

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