In Ireland, more than one billion litres of waste water is collected every day in approximately 30,000 kilometres of sewers. This is treated at 1,100 waste water treatment plants and then discharged into rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The quality of discharge varies depending on the level of treatment. The majority (69%) undergoes secondary treatment where a biological treatment using bacteria breaks down and removes organic matter following preliminary treatment (removal of large debris, oil and fats etc) and primary treatment (physical settling ponds to remove suspended solids). While secondary treatment significantly reduces the potential for pollution, the wastewater must undergo a tertiary treatment including nutrient removal and disinfection (UV irradiation) to ensure that the discharges do not pose any pollution threat to the receiving waters and the organisms that live in it.

The design, construction and operation of wastewater treatment plants is fundamental to the protection of our water quality especially in coastal areas.

Significant progress has been made in the design and development of the modern sewage treatment plants in recent years. Ward and Burke Engineering, who are based in Kilcolgan, specialise in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of modern water and wastewater infrastructure globally. Mr. Neil Ronan will present on ‘Innovation in the design of modern sewage treatment plants’ on the Cuan Beo Main Stage at 3pm on Saturday 11th August during Cruinnu na mBad 2018. All are welcome to attend and admission is free.