Sludge plan ready as water fear persists

by Gazette Reporter
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FINGAL County Council has finalised the Fingal Sludge Management Plan (SMP), following a review last year which included a period of public consultation.
The plan details proposals for dealing with non-hazardous sludges arising in Fingal from a number of sources, including waste-water treatment.
It recommends a sludge hub centre to be co-located on the site of the proposed regional waste water treatment plant in Clonshaugh, to treat and thermally dry municipal waste water sludges arising in Fingal.
The plan is a part of the Greater Dublin Drainage (GDD) project. The GDD team completed a site selection process in 2013 and identified the preferred option as being an underground orbital sewer and two pumping stations, a waste water treatment plant at Clonshaugh, and an outfall pipe from the plant, discharging 6km out to sea from Baldoyle.
Cllr Keith Redmond (FG) said: “It seems to be fairly isolated. In Kinsealy, they are understandably a bit worried about the smell, and then there is an action group in Portmarnock.
“Very few people in Howth and Sutton are talking about it yet. The thing is that none of this has been decided, it all has to go through an environmental impact statement from An Bord Pleanala.
“The grade of the effluent [waste] hasn’t even been decided; tertiary grade effluent is effectively drinking water.
“The sludge gets dried up and can be turned into powder form, and can be sold as fertiliser. While I can understand why people might be a bit worried, there is nothing to be worried about yet.”
The plan has been met with much opposition from the residents of Portmarnock, who have created the Portmarnock Drainage Awareness group to resist the plans.
Senator Darragh O’Brien (FF), who has supported this group from the outset, said: “More than 14,000 people objected to this plant in the first round of public consultations. There are alternatives; the larger plant option is the wrong option.
“We have 15 treatment plants in Fingal already. The irony is that Portmarnock beach has just regained its Blue Flag status, and that is the coastline where they are looking at sending out waste that has only been treated to secondary standard, which is the bare minimum standard.
“That’s what they have been saying to us – it’s tertiary treatment, that they will wash the waste, skim the top of the waste, take that off and bring it God knows where.
“We still don’t know where they’re bringing that, they’re not being open with it.
“It’s been proven safer to have a series of localised plants, which we do have in Malahide, Swords, Donabate, Skerries and Balbriggan. The council couldn’t even manage the Balbriggan one, [on one occasion] there was sewage going out into the sea for 24 hours without them even knowing, and we’re supposed to trust GDD and Irish Water with a plant that will be four times the size of Croke Park?”
A spokesperson for GDD said “The project will require an effluent discharge licence from the EPA and the level to which the waste water will be treated will ensure the water quality standards required by EU and national regulations can be achieved.
“This will safeguard the quality of the marine environment, beaches and bathing water.”
The finalised Fingal SMP can be viewed online at

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