Case Study Ballygarry house and spa

Ballygarry House Hotel and Spa is situated in a picturesque countryside setting located 1km outside of Tralee in County Kerry.


Ballygarry Hotel is year round busy tourist and wedding venue. The hotel needed to upgrade its wastewater treatment and opted to develop an Integrated Constructed wetland due to it providing a more cost effective solution to conventional treatment. 

However, the hotel since commencing work on the ICW sees the multitude of benefits that the ICW can give to their business. These include recreation, total water management, landscape features and a natural wastewater treatment system that will be central to their outdoor facility, particularly as the hotel expands. The hotel is not connected to the public sewer and must therefore manage all wastewater on site.

Integrated Constructed Wetlands can be successfully applied to hotel applications of all scales. At Ballygarry Hotel all wastewater generated is ultimately managed by the on-site ICW. Natural processes taking place in the system on a continuous basis result in a high level of water treatment and a reduction of water volumes especially during summer months even when the hotel may be at its peak.

The ICW is designed to fit with the surrounding landscape through construction of organically shaped treatment cells. These cells are densely planted with native wetland species, which function to treat the wastewater and capture any odours. Cascading flows through the system are achieved by gravity thereby reducing energy costs associated with pumping.


Total Wastewater Management

Integrated Constructed Wetlands provide a low cost and low maintenance option for sustainable water treatment

The ICW at Ballygarry has been developed to deliver high treatment efficiency of all wastewaters generated at the hotel and spa through natural processes, while requiring minimal energy (pumping only). 

The ICW as a treatment system focuses also on providing an area of biodiversity and amenity and has been incorporated into the grounds of the estate that can be enjoyed by its visitors for its array of vegetation and wildlife that will establish and flourish within the system.

We highlight the following as some of the benefits/values of ICWs

  • carbon sequestration (storage);
  • aesthetic value;
  • flood alleviation/abatement;
  • enhancement of biodiversity;
  • provision of species for pollination;
  • ecotherapy;
  • retrieval (recycling) of water-vectored materials such as metals and organic matter;
  • develop new wetland-dependent resources;
  • facilitate biodiversity and reanimation of habitats; and
  • facilitate awareness of the values of wetlands and act as a form of education.


A customised approach is taken to each ICW project. Here an assessment is completed on site suitability together with a detailed look at wastewater operations. In determining the design for Ballygarry Hotel future aspirations were also considered so that the treatment system was appropriately sized for present and potential volumes.

Following the site suitability study, a site-specific design and construction program was established that satisfied current and future loading rates. This allowed for hotel growth and improved robustness of the system while optimising landscape fit. Appropriate guidelines were referenced to develop the four-treatment-cell arrangement.


ICW Construction

The main earthworks activities involved in the development of the ICW were levelling, excavation, and the placement of soils for the enclosing embankments around each treatment. The ICW embankments serve to divide the treatment cells and provide an access route across the system.

A pump is in place to convey the wastewaters from the settlement tank to the ICW.  Influent travels through the system and to the receiving waters by gravity in a sequential and cascading manner.


Operations, Monitoring, and Maintenance

Regular operating, monitoring, and maintenance activities ensure wastewater treatment performance is continuous and the site operates in compliance with regulatory requirements.

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