Wednesday 26 March 2008

Planning board seeks Ringsend sewage plant report

AN ENVIRONMENTAL report on plans to extend the modern sewage treatment plant at Ringsend has been ordered by An Bord Pleanála, on grounds the project would be "likely to have significant effects on the environment".

The board has directed Dublin City Council to prepare the environmental impact statement (EIS) in advance of the council's submission of a planning application to extend the plant.

The council has already told the board the extension will have greater visual impact than the original plant and "odour" was likely to be a contentious issue with any development of the facility.

The council has for several years intended to extend the plant, which currently processes the sewage of the equivalent of 1.9 million people, to a capacity of 2.2 million and possibly greater, but has had to delay because of a foul odour problem which has persisted since the plant opened in 2003.

Last December, city manager John Tierney said the odour problem would be eliminated by July, which would allow the plans for the extension, likely to cost in excess of €50 million, to proceed.

The council wrote to An Bord Pleanála late last year stating that it believed an EIS would be required for the development.

In its submission, it said there would be a "higher degree of visual impact" than had been the case with the original sewage plant because there would be an intensification of facilities on the same site. The submission also states that odour control has been a major issue with the existing plant and would be one of the most contentious aspects of the proposed extension.

In his report, the board's inspector said the council could have conducted an EIS without asking the board, but he said it was his recommendation that an EIS should be prepared.

The development was likely to have significant effects on the environment because of its size, capacity and "other cumulation effects including that of the adjoining waste-to-energy facility [Poolbeg incinerator] The council yesterday said it had not decided when it would submit an application to the board for the

The Irish Times

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