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Lifford Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade


Lifford is the county town of Donegal and is located in the east of the county along the border with Northern Ireland. The town is in the Finn Valley where the Mourne River and River Finn meet to form the River Foyle.

In 2016 the town was recorded as having a population of 1,626. Wastewater from the Lifford agglomeration, which includes the town itself plus developments along the N15 and N14, is treated at Lifford Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP). The WwTP is located on the banks of the River Foyle, and the town of Strabane is directly across the river. This stretch of the river is designated as a Special Area of Conservation.

Existing wastewater treatment

Constructed in 1967, Lifford WwTP treats wastewater from Lifford and its surrounding areas. The existing plant was designed to treat wastewater for a Population Equivalent (PE) of 1,550. It currently has provision for primary treatment only with the wastewater screened initially through an inlet screen. Following settlement, the treated wastewater (effluent) is discharged to the River Foyle.

Need for upgrade

The wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure in Killea currently suffers from a number of deficiencies, as follows

  • In operation for over 50 years, the current wastewater treatment plant has insufficient capacity to effectively treat the volume of wastewater it now receives. The existing WwTP has a capacity to
    treat 1,550 Population Equivalent (PE)
    of wastewater. However the wastewater load currently being exerted on the plant has recently been calculated at over 1,900 PE from homes and businesses. The plant is therefore overloaded and unable to cope with the current demand.
  •  The amount of wastewater produced by the town is projected to exceed 2,000
    PE by 2023 and therefore, to meet the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, secondary treatment must be provided at the plant.
  •  To enable the transfer of more flows
    to the treatment plant, the pumps and sewer at Sally Gardens Pumping Station will also need to be upgraded.
Lifford Location


  • Upgrading the treatment capacity of Lifford WwTP to 2,500 PE and upgrading the wastewater network will allow for future economic development in the town and surrounding areas. The upgrades will ensure that wastewater is treated and discharged in compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations and with the conditions of the Wastewater Discharge Licence issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • In line with the SWELL objectives, the project will deliver a higher quality of discharge to Lough Foyle, reduce the risk of stormwater discharge and will protect the surrounding environment from threat of pollution.

What will the upgrade involve

As part of the SWELL project a new wastewater treatment plant will be constructed on a site adjacent to the existing plant and improvements made to the wastewater network. Overall the investment at Lifford will include:

» Construction of a new 2,500 PE wastewater treatment plant, providing secondary treatment. The upgrade works will consist of a new inlet works, storm water holding tank, secondary biological treatment process and final settlement tanks as well as a new control building and new sludge thickening facility.

» Upsizing of pumping main and gravity sewer to facilitate the transfer of additional volumes of wastewater from Sally Gardens Pumping Station to the new Lifford WwTP.

» Other storm water management solutions on the network water management solutions on the network comprising pump upgrades and network upgrades.

Lough Foyle

When will the work take place?

The Swell Project Waves

We are currently at the design phase of the project. It is expected that construction will start towards the end of 2020 with works complete by the end of 2021.

Progress Of Works

The Swell Project Waves
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