Undertaken by Irish Water, the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project was awarded the prestigious accolade of Engineering Endeavour of 2021 in December 2021. The project featured in Engineers Ireland’s Engineering Excellence Digital Series, held in association with ESB, and was chosen by the public and members of Engineers Ireland as the top engineering project of 2021 following an online vote.
Following seven years of extensive engineering works and completed in September 2021, the drainage scheme now prevents the equivalent of 40,000 wheelie bins of raw sewage from Ringaskiddy, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Passage West, Monkstown and Cobh Town being discharged untreated each day into Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. The project was completed in a number of phases by Irish Water, who invested €144 million to ensure that wastewater was collected and fully treated before its safe discharge into the harbour. In addition to constructing a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant in Shanbally, the project also involved two of the longest horizontal directional drills ever undertaken in Ireland to install sewer pipes over 1km long, some 60m below the Lee Estuary. Over 20,000 businesses and homes are now connected to the new wastewater scheme, which will protect the environment and support the sustainable development and growth of local communities.