Irish Water have selected Kilkenny Wastewater Treatment Plant as a highly likely candidate to become a future regional sludge hub.
Sludge refers to the biological material remaining after wastewater has been treated. It is usually further treated at wastewater plants to produce usable biosolids.
The volume of sludge produced by wastewater treatment plants across the country has increased year on year and this has led to a national rethink of how wastewater treatment is managed.
Irish Water have identified a ‘hub and satellite’ approach as the most sustainable approach to deal with increasing volumes of sludge, as part of a ‘National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan’.
A key component of the plan is the processing of wastewater sludge from outlying rural works through intermediate treatment plants for dewatering before transferal to centralised treatment facilities, aka ‘sludge hubs’.
Irish Water argues that the dewatering of sludge at satellite dewatering sites reduces onward transport costs and traffic movements.
The company states that “when appropriately treated and managed sludge does not present a risk to the environment or human health and it can be safely recycled to provide a benefit to society and the environment.
“Wastewater sludge is a valuable product with potential benefits in terms of nutrients, organic and energy content and is a source of phosphorus, a limited and diminishing resource essential for all plant growth.”
It remains to be seen what impact new sludge treatment facilities would have on the Purcellsinch site on the Sion Road.
The site will soon be assessed in more detail under criteria such as ecological impact, noise and odour proximity, traffic impact as well as forecasted capital and operational costs.
Public consultation is being undertaken on the matter until Tuesday October 22, 2019.
The public are free to make email submissions in relation to the proposal to the following address: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.