The Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project has been awarded the Engineering Endeavour of 2021.

Award for Leeside project

A project carried out to end the decades long practice of discharging raw sewage into Cork Lower Harbour has won an award.

The wastewater drainage project was awarded the title of Engineering Endeavour of 2021 by Engineers Ireland, it was announced on Wednesday.

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.

Undertaken by Irish Water, the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project was awarded the accolade having 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.

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.

Déaglán Healy, Project Manager at Irish Water said: “A high degree of engineering ingenuity and skill was required across all phases of this project, and we are incredibly proud to receive the Engineering Endeavour of 2021 title. We have come a long way since we started work on this project in 2014. Irish Water has eliminated 60 per cent of raw sewage discharges across Ireland, and we are on track to remove 95 per cent by 2025. This project brings huge benefits to communities around Cork Lower Harbour by protecting the environment and supporting the development of homes and businesses.”