EU-funded SWELL project marks halfway stage with completion of NI sites

A major cross-border project, aimed at improving water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle through enhanced wastewater treatment, has seen the completion of four of its eight wastewater upgrades as the project reaches the halfway stage.

The Shared Waters Enhancement & Loughs Legacy (SWELL) project – which is being led by NI Water working in partnership with Irish Water, the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Loughs Agency and East Border Region – was awarded €35m in February 2019, as part of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The four-year project involves the construction of new wastewater treatment works as well as upgrades to sewerage networks at strategic locations on both sides of the border to address wastewater pollution in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.

Reaching the halfway stage of the project, Martin Gillen, NI Water Programme Lead for SWELL commented: “We are delighted to successfully commission new wastewater infrastructure at Warrenpoint Wastewater Treatment Works and Newpoint Wastewater Pumping Station (Newry) located in the Carlingford Lough drainage basin and at Strabane Wastewater Treatment Works and Donemana Wastewater Treatment Works located in the Lough Foyle drainage basin.

“The work carried out at these key NI Water sites involved extensive upgrades of the existing wastewater assets to improve the quality of discharge to the respective waterways which impact on the shared waters of Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.

“The completion of these four sites marks a major milestone in the overall SWELL project and I would like to thank NI Water’s project management support team from McAdam Design and all our local contractors – GEDA, Water Solutions Ireland, GRAHAM, BSG Civil Engineering and Deane Public Works – who have worked tirelessly through very challenging times to successfully deliver this new infrastructure.”

Aerial view

SWELL partners, Irish Water will deliver a further four projects at Lifford, Killea and Carrigans in County Donegal and in Omeath, County Louth. Due to get underway in spring 2021, the Irish Water works,together with the NI Water upgrades, will deliver cross-border water quality enhancements which will help contribute towards improving water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.

With match-funding for the SWELL project provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, the SWELL project will culminate in the development of an innovative ecosystem legacy model.