A PLANNING application has been lodged to develop a wastewater treatment system at Saleen, near Midleton, which will blend into the local landscape.
Irish Water, in conjunction with Cork County Council want to develop an Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) to treat wastewater from the village.
An ICW system is a sustainable system that looks and functions like a natural wetland. Constructed wetlands are created to treat wastewater from small, rural communities in an environmentally-friendly way before allowing it to return to the water system safely.
Irish Water has identified a site close to the village and plan to ensure it will be a local amenity with woodland and pathways.
The water utility has spoken with locals and Mark O'Callaghan of Irish Water said the ICW approach would fit into the local landscape.
“An Integrated Constructed Wetland is an excellent wastewater treatment solution for a community like Saleen," he said.
"Not only does it protect the environment by treating wastewater to a very high standard, but it also encourages biodiversity by providing a habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing an ICW. Each site is unique which is why we have been engaging closely with the local community to ensure that we had all the relevant information before proceeding with this planning application. We are very grateful for all the feedback we have received to date from local residents and we will continue to welcome their input as we move forward with this project,” he added.
Irish Water has helped to develop a number of ICW Projects around the country. Dunhill in Co Waterford, Glaslough, Co Monaghan and Clonaslee ICW, Co Laois were already progressed prior to the formation of Irish Water, while a number of others are currently at design or planning stage including at Lixnaw in Kerry, Muff in Donegal and a further 11 sites which are undergoing feasibility assessment.
ICWs protect local waterways by treating wastewater and discharging it in compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.
Constructed wetlands are usually made up of a primary settlement tank where wastewater from the community is collected and from that, several ponds follow which are planted with wetland plants including reeds, rushes and sedges. The ponds are usually gently sloped towards a river to allow water to flow very slowly through the wetland before flowing away. Any particles that have been carried in the water will settle on the bottom and the plants and natural microorganisms in the wetlands will break down and remove certain pollutants and elements in the water.
Maintenance costs are low and, over time, constructed wastelands can provide renewable energy sources such as biomass. Organic materials that can be taken from an area, treated and reused as a source of fuel.