Map showing the proposed route and scale of works

PLANS for a €500 million ‘monster’ sewage treatment plant with an outflow pipe at Baldoyle estuary will be lodged with An Bord Pleanala in the first half of 2018.

The project sparked a wave of outrage when it first surfaced three years ago and more than 13,000 Fingal residents objected to the proposal.

If it gets the go-ahead, the giant facility will be built on a 50-acre site at Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport with an outflow pipe located near Ireland’s Eye in what is a Special Area of Conservation.

Philip Swan, spokesperson for Portmarnock Drainage Awareness, told The Gazette: “We can’t really do anything until we see what is being lodged with An Bord Pleanala.

“But there was huge opposition when this first surfaced, and hopefully the board will take into account the 13,000-plus objections we plan on lodging again.”

Irish Water said the GDD was a key part of its investment in new infrastructure to meet demand in the greater Dublin area.

Its plans provide for a treatment plant and “sludge hub centre” at Clonshaugh, an underground orbital sewer from Blanchardstown to Clonshaugh, an outfall pipe “discharging the water to the Irish Sea”, and a biosolids storage facility at Newtown.

Deputy Darragh O’Brien (FF) warned that the project “hasn’t gone away” and lamented the fact that Fingal councillors voted down a proposal to remove the project from the County Development Plan by a narrow majority.

Calling for a localised approach rather than one “monster” plant, he warned: “This is still a threat to our area. This plant would import waste from seven authorities.

“The planned centre is four times the size of Croke Park, with an outflow pipe pumping thousands of litres of sewage per minute (treated to the minimum secondary level standards) located off Portmarnock.”

Philip Swan also argued against taking waste from neighbouring counties and said in the case of malfunction this could close beaches right along the east coast. He added: “The decision on the location of the outflow pipe was made based on initial inconclusive reports.

“I can only assume more in-depth reports have been carried out since 2013 and they don’t ignore the potential catastrophic effects this plant could have on Pormarnock beach and the two surrounding Special Areas of Conservation that are protected under an EU directive.”

Once the plans are lodged, this will be followed by a statutory period of public consultation. The project will start in 2021 at the earliest and construction will take three years.

Further details will be announced in early November on www.greaterdublindrainage.ie.