Uisce Éireann’s commitment to establish a world class facility for water analysis took a significant step forward as Minister of State Kieran O’Donnell turned the sod on the new €60m National Laboratory project in Limerick City.
Through the Scientific and Technical Services Programme, Uisce Éireann is developing a national, accredited facility to further develop the sampling and testing of water and wastewater across Ireland.
The new Laboratory and Scientific and Technical Service will deliver many benefits including improving water quality data, regulatory compliance, increased transparency for the public and economic growth.
The construction of the new state-of-the-art National Laboratory in Ballysimon will lead to the recruitment of approximately 90 scientific and technical experts to operate the new National Laboratory, with education and research links to 3rd level institutions.
At the event, Minister for State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, with Responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell TD said: “I am delighted to be here today to officially turn the sod and mark the commencement of construction. Uisce Éireann is investing in the region of €60 million through this programme which will deliver the first dedicated National Water Laboratory for Ireland. The location of this National Laboratory in Limerick City will enable Uisce Éireann to contribute to balancing economic growth across Ireland while creating high-quality technical career opportunities outside of Dublin. I would like to commend all those involved in bringing the project to this important milestone and I would like to wish the project team well as they progress with this centre of excellence.”
The new 3,800 square metre facility will have the capacity to analyse 1.2 million water and wastewater tests annually with operations expected to commence in 2025. It will build on the established capability and expertise nationally in the testing and sampling of water quality. The National Laboratory will support the delivery of water and wastewater services across Ireland and protect public health and the environment through regulatory and operational compliance.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Francis Foley, welcomed the significant investment in Limerick and the wider region: “At a regional level, this National Laboratory will generate high skilled employment opportunities, attracting graduates and experienced professionals to Limerick and the region, while from a national perspective it will support Ireland’s need to continue to function as a growing economy.”
Cáit Gleeson, Scientific Services Manager at Uisce Éireann, outlined that “the establishment of this scientific and technical service capability will enhance Uisce Éireann’s work in protecting public health and the environment by ensuring the delivery of clean, safe water through rigorous analysis. This facility will house state-of-the-art equipment for microbiological and chemical analysis which will be accredited to international quality standards. It is designed with a focus on swift customer service, energy efficiency and staff welfare and will be achieved in collaboration with our key stakeholders, including existing Laboratory water services providers and staff who currently undertake sampling and/or testing for Uisce Éireann.
“The National Laboratory’s testing and sampling capability will support the protection of public health and the environment and inform investment decisions, plant upgrades and the operation of Uisce Éireann’s assets.”