The contract, which is for clients Irish Water and Cork City Council, was signed in September and is expected to take approximately two years to complete.
The upgraded Lee Road Water Treatment Plant will supply water to over 70% of the population of Cork City, ensuring a secure water supply for the rapidly growing city.
A sod turning ceremony to mark the start of the works was performed by deputy lord Mayor of Cork, Fergal Dennehy, minister for housing planning and local government Eoghan Murphy, and representatives from Irish Water and Cork City Council.
Drinking water treatment began at the historic Lee Road Water Treatment Plant site 140 years ago in 1879. Before then, Cork City’s water supply scheme was first established in 1768 at the historic Old Cork Waterworks, where the event took place. There have been several upgrades to Lee Road Water Treatment Plant since 1879, but no major upgrades since the 1950s.
The current project will replace existing treatment facilities at the plant, which is currently listed on the Environmental Protection Authority’s remedial action list (RAL). The RAL identifies supplies that are in need of improvement.
Dennehy said: “Today’s sod turning is an important step in the modernisation of our city’s water treatment infrastructure. Cork is a thriving city and its ongoing growth and development is dependent on having a modern, fit-for-purpose water infrastructure. This investment is essential in safeguarding public health, supporting local businesses and attracting investment into the city.”
Murphy said: “It’s great to be here today to mark the start of this €40m project which is so important for the future of Cork city. As we have seen with recent events clean water is vital for homes and families across the country and the investment by Government in this infrastructure will ensure a safe, secure and sustainable water supply in Cork city for many years to come. We are here on the site of the original water supply scheme for Cork City which was established more than 250 years ago and marked a crucial step in the city’s development. This latest investment is another important milestone in securing Cork’s water supply into the future.”
Eamon Gallen, Irish Water’s general manager, said: “This major upgrade of the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant is a key project for Irish Water. Along with other investments in the water supply network across the city and county, it will provide state-of-the-art water treatment facilities, bringing enormous benefits for the people of Cork.”