By Dan Walsh
The official sod turning at the €12.8 million Wastewater Treatment Plant at Arthurstown serving the communities of Duncannon, Arthurstown and Ballyhack took place last Friday morning.
The plant will provide wastewater treatment for the first time for the equivalent of almost 1,875 people and the works will ensure the communities have the capacity for social and economic development into the future and will also ensure the protection and the integrity of the environment.
Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy was on hand to officiate at the sod turning; “The commencement of this vital sewerage infrastructure development will lead to enhanced tourism opportunities for the beautiful villages of Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Duncannon. The removal of untreated wastewater to this estuary has long been a goal of Wexford County Council, and we can now look forward to all the benefits of a cleaner environment, previously denied due to the lack of treatment in the area. These works will also hasten the return of our Blue Flag Beach status to Duncannon. I very much welcome the investment from Irish Water in conjunction with Wexford County Council.’
Paul Fallon, Programme Manager with Irish Water said; “This is big day for the communities of Duncannon, Arthurstown and Ballyhack and we are so pleased to finally get the project underway. This is such a beautiful part of the country and to think that this Irish Water project will eliminate the equivalent of 1,500 wheelie bins of raw sewage flowing into the Barrow, Nore, Suir estuary every day is something to be positive about.
“The size and scale of the challenge of raw sewage discharging into our water ways is well documented, however, the good news is that Irish Water has a plan to get to grips with this and similar areas around Ireland. This project is due for completion in 2023 and will support social and economic development and protect our marine life in the years to come too. I’d finally like to pay tribute to our colleagues in Wexford County Council, Sisk, Aecom and Atkins who have done a fantastic job to date and I look forward to bringing this project to completion with them”.
Minister of State James Browne said; “It’s great to see this project get underway. It has been a long time in the making, and it will open so many new opportunities for the communities of Arthurstown, Duncannon and Ballyhack. I wish Irish Water, Wexford County Council and Sisk the best of luck with the works.”
Chief Executive of Wexford County Council, Tom Enright, also warmly welcomed the commencement of construction of the much needed Wastewater Treatment Plant, stating that “the works when completed in approximately 16 months’ time will bring great benefits to the villages and surrounding areas in terms of environmental improvements, water quality, infrastructural development, tourism and investment.’ The Chief Executive also thanked Irish Water and the staff of Wexford County Council for bringing the project to this juncture and wished contractors Sisk Group well in their endeavours.
Although numbers were limited at the event due to COVID-19 restrictions, the communities were well represented by their elected representatives, business leaders and other members of the community.
Well-known celebrity chef and author Kevin Dundon was in Arthurstown to see the works kick off, he is passionate about his locality and the environment; “For all of us living and working in a coastal community, this is a fabulous environmental step forward. Cleaner beaches and water for residents and visitors alike means better living. Hopefully, the blue flags will return soon because of this wastewater treatment development.”
Lorraine Waters from Hook Lighthouse was also on hand to witness the Sod Turning; “Hook lighthouse too is delighted to hear its partnering villages Duncannon, Arthurstown and Ballyhack will soon have a new wastewater treatment plant, as all our areas are striving to go green and become more eco-friendly this is indeed good news, especially in a time where we are now hoping to, in the coming years increase our visitor capacity to our beautiful county.”
Chairman of New Ross Municipal District, Cllr Patrick Barden was also in attendance; “Protecting our environment has never been more important than it is today. With this new treatment system for the villages of Arthurstown Ballyhack and Duncannon, we are taking a major step in the right direction regarding improving our environment here in this lovely area. Over the years these villages have been restricted in their ability to expand and diversify due to the lack of adequate sewage treatment. This problem is now being resolved and we can look forward to realising the full potential of these vibrant communities. I would like to acknowledge the role of Irish Water and Wexford County Council in the delivery of this ambitious project. I also look forward to the day when the neighbouring village of Ramsgrange will also be connected.”
A spokesperson for Irish Water told WexfordLocal.com that across the bay in Dunmore East and all along the Waterford coastline, the practice of discharging raw sewage into the waterways has been eliminated since 2017. The investment of €24 million there delivered seven new wastewater treatment plants in towns and villages across Co. Waterford including Ardmore, Ballyduff/Kilmeadan, Cappoquin, Dunmore East, Kilmacthomas, Stradbally and Tallow. Half of the raw sewage entering waterways in Ireland has now been eliminated and there is a plan to remove the remainder in the years to come.