Irish Water and Cork County Council were joined by Minister of State Jim Daily last Friday in turning the sod to mark the start of a €28m upgrade to the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme.
Water treatment plants in Drimoleague, Skeagh (near Schull) and Ballinlough (near Leap) will be decommissioned as ‘at risk’ water supplies with inadequate treatment facilities. The two remaining plants for the scheme’s area, in Ballyhilty and Lake Cross, will be upgraded to become the sole sources of supply.
Meanwhile new treated water storage reservoirs will be built in Drimoleague, Schull, Leap and Sherkin to secure supply and compensate for the decommissioned plants.
Defective and insufficient water mains currently in place in Drimoleague, Castledonovan, Schull, Leap and Bluid will also be replaced under the scheme, as part of 40km of new water mains to be built.
The project’s stated aim is to improve water quality and security of supply for the approximately 7,000 people living in the scheme’s area: Skibbereen, Drimoleague, Schull, Leap, and Sherkin Island.
Brian Sheehan, Head of Asset Delivery at Irish Water, commented:
“The upgrade to the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme will address its water quality treatment deficiencies, which will enable the removal of 7,000 people from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL).
“These works will provide a secure and sustainable supply of quality drinking water to Skibbereen, Drimoleague, Schull, Leap and Sherkin Island.” The sentiment was shared by Minister Daly and Mayor of the County of Cork Patrick Gerard Murphy, who agreed that the project will bring “very significant benefits” to the area well into the future.
The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete, in which time Irish Water has assured the local community will be kept abreast of works and notified in advance of commencement.
Works are due to begin in the coming weeks.