Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council sought about improving the quality of the Deansgrange Stream, which was being impacted upon by misconnections in upstream pipe networks and direct pollution.
In 2008 a 600m stretch of the stream in Kilbogget Park was developed applying the Integrated Constructed Wetland approach. The development included the creation of a series of wetlands and ponds within the stream to improve water quality and to enhance the habitat and amenity value of the site.
A recent survey of the local residents associations showed that the level of pride and ownership of the park has increased dramatically since the ICW was installed. An increase in wildlife has attracted a number of visitors while safe access to shallow water provides amenity for both adults and children.
An ICW was developed in 1999 by Dublin City Council with in the Fingalswood Stream in Tolka Valley Park. The ICW located alongside the Tolka River has provided flood attenuation, amenity, increased biodiversity and habitat value.
Dublin City Council commissioned a biodiversity survey of the ICW in June 2008 which concluded that “The establishment of the ICW at Tolka Valley Park is an excellent example of how... biodiversity can be harnessed for the benefit of people in this case transforming a foetid quagmire (neglected stream) into a water purification unit with amenity value”.
The incidents of social misbehaviour has also noticeably decreased in the site since the development of the ICW.
Monaghan County Council constructed a 6.7 ha ICW in 2007 for the village of Glaslough. The ICW, located within the grounds of the Castle Leslie Estate, currently serves the village population of 1400 P.E, while also providing an area of amenity for the tourist based Estate.
The performance of the ICW at Glaslough is monitored regularly and removal efficiencies are high prior to discharge to the Mountain Water Stream.
Castle Leslie Estate view the ICW as “a contrast to traditional sewerage treatment works, which are designed to be cut-off from the public and wildlife.” They also see it as a concept that enhances the “water based theme inherent in the name “Glaslough”.”The ICW has been integrated as an amenity area that can be “enjoyed by guests of the estate and the equestrian centre.”
An Integrated Constructed Wetland developed in 2012 for the village of Clonaslee, by Laois County Council. Now operated by Irish Water this ICW serves as a wastewater treatment facility for the 1200 population.
It’s proximity to the village, it’s location within the countryside and it’s access routes around the 5 cell/5 ha ICW system provides the local community and visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the site for it’s recreational and biodiversity values.
This Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) is operated to treat sewage and storm water flows from the village of Stoneyford. It has been designed to serve a population of 952.
The original wastewater treatment works at Stoneyford had become overloaded as population increased in the catchment area. In 2012, Northern Ireland Water set about upgrading the existing wastewater treatment plant to provide a system with increased capacity for the larger and growing population and to comply with Northern Ireland Environment Agency licensing requirements.
ICWs had already been developed in the Republic of Ireland for municipal wastewater and with positive performances from these systems Northern Ireland Water took Stoneyford as their 'pilot' ICW project.
This ICW is comprised of a series of 2 No. Settlement ponds and 5 No. Treatment ponds, covering a treatment/functional area of c. 40,000m2. Wastewater and storm water flows are collected in the newly upgraded pumping station located to the west of the village, is screened and pumped to the ICW for treatment. Water flows by gravity through the ICW before discharging to the Stoneyford River.
As an environmental means of cleaning your wastewater, an ICW is also able to adjust with changes to population – including the ability to handle shock loads from extreme weather events.
ICW amenity possibilities are many. In supporting a sustainable ecological diverse habitat, it lends itself through the embankment pathways for visitors to engage with the surrounding nature.
Contact with nature is generally lacking in our busy day-to-day lives: ICWs are a source of inspiration, that have values enhancing ecotourism, mental health and pride of place for the community.
They promote opportunities for formal and informal education, helping to promote awareness of water and associated aquatic life.
Lost aquatic habitats are in abundance and are re-established in ICWs in an exemplary manner in which to experience and learn about them.
One can pause and let nature surround you!
The ecological diversity that ICWs provide are unparalleled in the context of habitat creation – both aquatic and terrestrial.
The large ecotone areas created at embankment and surface water furthers both flora and fauna. Considering such habitat interfaces are one of the most heavily removed landscapes and biotypes in Ireland, it is a significant contribution. Complex microbial activity is the primary treatment process of the wastewater, these are supported by the dense vegetation in the wetland cells, all of which are native.
This natural process feeds into the lifecycle supporting microscopic/macro aquatic life which in turn support avian and mammalian species. This biodiversity includes macroinvertebrates (Dragonfly, Damselfly, Diving Beetles, Stoneflies, Caddisflies, etc), amphibians (Frogs and Newts), birdlife (Heron, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Swan) and even larger terrestrial mammals such as Deer.
ICW systems have been shown to support >60% of all known aquatic beetle species known in Ireland. ICWs are a prime example of how a wetland supports a biodiverse habitat, all while treating the wastewater from our everyday lives.
Take a butterfly or bee walk around one of the many ICWs and link with the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. You would be amazed with the abundance you will find.
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