New waste water treatment plant for Kildare Town gets the nod

The Dáil has rubberstamped funding for Kildare town’s new waste water treatment plant, which will cost over E20 million.

The news of the E17.6m funding came through last Friday from the Department of the Environment and has been greeted with delight in Kildare town.

Contractors EPS/SIAC, who won the tender competition run by Kildare County Council to construc the new plant, are expected to commence work shortly.

The long-awaited works will upgrade and expand the sewerage infrastructure in Kildare town. Local commentators said it will give an economic boost to the town. Economic growth and development has been stymied in Kildare town because planning permissions are conditional on the new treatment system coming online.

Approving the funding, Minister John Gormley noted in a letter to Deputy Sean Power that the works provide for a new waste water treatment plant, 15km of effluent pipeline, an upgrade to the town’s sewer networks and the provision of new sewers to the southeast and west of the town.

The Environment Minister also remarked on the positive environmental benefits for Kildare town and the local river systems and wider river catchment area of the new scheme.

Des Groome, chairman of Kildare Chamber of Commerce, said he was very pleased to hear the news that funding had been approved. “It will mean that we will have a level of local stimulus and growth,” he said. “A number of development projects have been on hold. We missed the tail end of the boom because planning permissions have been on hold for a number of years.”

Mr Groome said the consequences of the new plant would be like a “domino effect” through the town. Plans for the town’s new second level community college which is due to be built will be one of the immediate beneficiaries, and there are plans proposed for an extension to the retail village.

Mr Groome noted that a number of projects from local developers had been on hold. “I do not think it is a fantasy to say they will happen,” he said. “The developers are locally based business people and their projects have been on hold and are ready to begin.”

The Chamber last year produced a report outlining the key concerns for local businesses and residents, and warning of the dire consequences if the long-awaited Waste Water Treatment Plant is not given the green light this year.

The report highlighted its belief that the stall on development in Kildare town limited growth to one-off developments, despite the town’s excellent rail and road links, and pushed projects further down the country to Laois and Carlow.

It added that “key local employers in both the tourism and the food manufacturing sector are coming under huge pressure to up-grade their own treatment plants while all the time waiting on the new WWTP”.
Local deputies Sean Power and Sean O’Fearghail also welcomed the news.

“This announcement is hugely important to the future development of Kildare Town in commercial, investment and environmental terms and I am very pleased to have worked with the Chamber of Commerce and other community groups to ensure that this project goes ahead,” said Deputy O’Fearghail.

Kildare County Council said it had been informally notified that 74 per cent funding for the plant had been approved but would not be commenting further until the announcement was official.

Published Date: 24 February 2010

By Laura Coates

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