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The Lower Cork Harbour area includes the existing population/industrial centres of Cobh, Carrigaline (including Crosshaven), Passage West/Monkstown (including Glenbrook & Raffeen) and Ringaskiddy (including Shanbally & Coolmore).  The population (based on the 2006 census) of the area is estimated to be 34,500 persons, with a population equivalent, including commercial and industrial loadings, estimated as 40,000 in 2001.  These figures are expected to rise significantly to a population equivalent of over 80,000 by 2035.

The existing sewer network serving the Lower Cork Harbour area comprises mainly combined sewer systems, with some of the newer housing estates constructed with separate foul and surface water systems.  Wastewater from Cobh, Carrigaline, Passage West/Monkstown and Ringaskiddy is currently discharged untreated into the Harbour.  Many of the industries in Ringaskiddy operate their own WWTP’s.  Lee Estuary/Lough Mahon to Monkstown was designated as “sensitive” in 2004 amendment to the Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations.

Consultants acting on behalf of Cork County Council prepared a Preliminary Report (PR) in 2002; an Addendum Report was completed in 2004.  The PR was further updated in 2008 to reflect the 2006 Census, and 2005 Local Area Plans.  A final revision of the PR was submitted in February 2010.  Following further comments on the revised Preliminary Report submitted in February 2010 and an Addendum Report was submitted in August 2011.  The PR was approved by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government in March 2012.

An EIS (Ref. YA005) for the project was approved by An Bord Pleanála in June 2009.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued Cork County Council (June 2010, subsequent clerical amendment September 2010) with Waste Water Discharge Authorisation Licences Ref:

  • D0054-01 Cobh
  • D0140-01 North Cobh
  • D0057-01 Crosshaven, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy
  • D0436-01 Ringaskiddy Village
  • D0129-01 Passage/Monkstown

The PR recommends the construction/upgrading of 8 no. main pumping stations with associated rising mains.  It has also recommends the construction of approximately 57km of new/upgraded sewers, rehabilitation of existing sewers and surface water separation where deemed economically viable.  A site for a new central treatment plant has been selected at Shanbally (north west of Carrigaline) utilising the existing outfall discharging to the Harbour at Dognose Bank.

The proposed project – Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Scheme – will be funded by Irish Water.

The provision of a secondary wastewater treatment plant for Cork Lower Harbour is a requirement under European and National law. The Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations, 2001 (S.I. 254 of 2001) as amended, require sanitary authorities to provide treatment plants which offer secondary treatment or equivalent treatment by specified dates according to the population equivalent entering the collection system.

Upgrading of the sanitary services infrastructure has been set as an objective of the Cork County Development Plan 2009, the Carrigaline Electoral Area Local Area Plan 2011, the Midleton Electoral Area Local Area Plan 2011 and the Cobh Development Plan, 2011.

Key Dates

  • Feb 2013 - Appointment of Nicholas O'Dywer and AMEC Consulting Engineers
  • 2013 - Commencement of initial investigation contracts
  • 2014 - Tendering and award of construction contracts
  • 2015 - Commencement of main construction contracts
  • 2019 - Completion of scheme