A new plan to deal with the sewage output of homes and businesses across the greater Dublin region is to be announced in the coming months.
The new strategy, likely to be published in September, follows the rejection almost two years ago by Fingal County Council of plans for a €140 million regional sewerage plant at Portrane in north Dublin.
Portrane had been identified in the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study, commissioned by the seven local authorities in the greater Dublin area, as the preferred site for the new municipal sewerage plant to satisfy the region's growing sewage needs.
The proposed plant would have had the capacity to process the waste of 850,000 people and would have been second in size in the region to the waste water treatment works in Ringsend.
However, in November 2005 Fingal councillors voted to reject the plan and ordered that the strategic drainage study be reviewed.
Consultants were appointed a year later to conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the report. Their recommended strategy to deal with the region's waste is being finalised.
Consultants Mott MacDonald Pettit and ERM identified 16 options for dealing with the waste and will recommend one to the local bodies, comprising the four Dublin authorities and Meath, Kildare and Wicklow county councils.
Despite Fingal's rejection of the original plan, the plant at Portrane remains among the options under consideration by the consultants and could be returned to the local authorities in September as the preferred strategy.
It is likely that a final decision on the waste strategy will be made on the basis of the consultants' report as the local authorities will be obliged by the forthcoming Water Services Act to put in place a strategy for dealing with the region's waste. Failure to do so will result in a strategy being imposed upon them by the Minister for the Environment.
Options under consideration include the 850,000 PE (population equivalent) capacity plant at Portrane; a 450,000 PE plant at Portrane plus a 350,000 PE plant discharging to the Liffey, either upstream of Islandbridge or to the Grand Canal Storm Cell; or extensions to the Ringsend plant in conjunction with improvements to capacity at smaller existing plants or sewers.
The consultants are also considering a strategy for a 850,000 PE plant within north Dublin, but not necessarily at Portrane, or a network of sub-regional plants or even smaller community-based plants throughout the seven local authority regions also at yet to be selected locations.
© 2007 The Irish Times