A new state-of-the-art water treatment plant has been officially opened in Vartry, Co. Wicklow
The Vartry Water Supply Scheme or 'The Vartry' was originally constructed in the 1860s. A major feat of engineering for its time, the scheme was developed by Dublin Corporation to provide a safe and reliable drinking water supply to the Dublin region and helped to reduce outbreaks of water borne disease such as cholera.
Over 150 years on and 'The Vartry' remains an integral part of the water supply for the Greater Dublin Area, supplying more than 200,000 people in Dublin and North Wicklow. The scheme was in urgent need of improvement and was listed on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL), which identifies water supplies that are in need of improvement to comply with drinking water regulations.
The new water treatment plant will facilitate the removal from the RAL of the seven water supply zones linked to Vartry, and will secure the water supply for much of the highly populated North Wicklow and South Dublin area for the coming decades.
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien TD was joined by the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Shay Cullen, Irish Water's Managing Director Niall Gleeson and Veolia’s Regional Director Declan White to open the new facility.
Speaking at the opening, Niall Gleeson, Managing Director of Irish Water, said: "Providing safe, secure water supplies for all our customers is a top priority for Irish Water. We are delighted to have completed this project on time and within budget and, most importantly, we have delivered what is a critical improvement to the quality, resilience and robustness of the water supply for over 200,000 people in North Wicklow and Dublin as well as helping to safeguard the supply for the entire region.
Minister O'Brien added: "This is a critical milestone in securing the water supply for the Greater Dublin Area into the coming decades. Vartry has supplied generations with water for over 150 years, and the completion of this project means that current and future generations will benefit from a high quality, safe, secure and reliable water supply. It also means we now have a robust infrastructure in place to support the delivery of housing and wider economic and social development.
Declan White commented: It is the culmination of years of complex design and construction by Veolia’s Water Engineering team along with our civil construction partner, BAM. It is also the result of a successful working partnership with Irish Water, Employer’s Representative Nicholas O’Dwyer Ltd and special thanks are due to Ned Fleming of Dublin City Council for his invaluable operational assistance.
Veolia looks forward to successfully operating the plant to provide sustainable high quality water to residents in the coming years.”
As part of the upgrade, Irish Water has also committed to releasing sustainable freshwater flows to the Vartry River which is important to safeguard the ecology of the river, particularly in times of drought. This is the first time in the 150 year operation of the plant that such a guarantee is in place.
Video courtesy of Irish Water