EU PARTNERS VISIT IRELAND FOR COLLABORATIVE EUROPEAN WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT – WATERPRO
Nine partners from Northern Europe, including the lead partner Savonia University of Applied Sciences (Finland) as well as partners from Sweden, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland recently attended an international conference in Letterkenny looking at bioremediation methods to manage runoff from agriculture, mining and landfills.
The conference, which was hosted by Donegal County Council, is part of an innovative EU funded project called WaterPro which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from agricultural and mining pollution.
One of the highlights of the conference was a site visit to Churchtown Landfill site in Lifford, which has been capped and covered. This uses a combination of an irrigated willow plantation and integrated constructed wetlands to treat leachate before it enters the River Finn. The River Finn is one of Europe’s best salmon and sea trout rivers and Donegal County Council is committed to protecting this wonderful resource by ensuring that all leachate is treated effectively.
The Council has introduced a plant based leachate treatment system at Churchtown and as part of the WaterPro project, the Council will, in close consultation with the Environment Protection Agency, will provide data and methodological information with a view to ensuring that similar systems can be replicated elsewhere.
The visiting delegates also attended their own project management meeting on Tuesday in Inishowen and was followed by a visit to Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head.
The delegates were then transported to Lough Neagh, where they visited two potential pilot sites at Washing Bay and Oxford Island. The focus was on the eco services benefits from the management of water quality on these sites. This was followed by a presentation from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency Water Management Unit, highlighting the main aspects of water quality improvement associated with the Neagh Bann Catchment Management Plan.
Ville Matikka from Savonia University of Applied Sciences stated “it is fundamental to meet with other partners throughout Europe who have been involved in practical water quality improvement projects. WaterPro is an excellent opportunity to learn best practice and transfer knowledge to and from other areas.”
WaterPro is funded through the Northern Peripheries Transnational Interreg Programme