The project in employed in Carlow

Decision due on Belturbet Wastewater Treatment Plant

Cavan County Council planning department is set to make a decision on the Belturbet water plant trial of reed beds as a water treatment exercise.

Irish Water submitted plans to the local authority in January notifying to develop a “research pilot project” at the Belturbet Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Irish Water's trial of a research pilot project at Belturbet Wastewater Treatment Plant would see the installation of reed beds as a way of sustainably managing water treatment sludge.

If approved this will see six reed beds installed at the facility at Naughan, on the outskirts of the Erneside town.

A submission was lodged in January by Irish Water with Cavan County Council detailing the proposal which is to construct Alum Sludge Drying Reed Beds Small Scale Trial Facility consisting of six Sludge Drying Reed Beds (SDRB), each 11.0m2 in size.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said: “The research project will look at how Irish Water can improve ways in which residual materials arising from producing drinking water can be managed. Irish Water plans to investigate if reed beds consisting of layers of gravel and sand planted with reeds will be effective in separating solids from water treatment residuals.”

The SDRB process is based on a natural treatment process in which the reeds system naturally treats the sludge, and provides a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the long term treatment of wastewater sludge.

The daily operation and maintenance of the systems will be minimal, only requiring the beds to be emptied once every 10 years. The process reduces transport movements and emissions, while also substantially reducing costs associated with the treatment process.

Other beneficial characteristics of this process ate that it would be a more cost effective way to manage and dewater the residues compared with current methods; provide a habitat that will support a wide range of biodiversity; and act as natural carbon sequester, removing carbon from the atmosphere.

The use of reed beds would furthermore reduce the need for chemicals within the treatment process, and hopefully produce a cleaner filtrate material than conventional systems. The research would take approximately three years to complete. A decision on the proposal is expected this week.