Searching for oil in Dublin Bay? No, just looking for a new sewage pipe route
IT may look like the search is continuing for oil in Dublin Bay - but it's nothing so glamorous.
This vessel, left, which looks distinctly like an oil rig is, in fact, tracing the best route for a new sewage pipeline.
It was brought in as part of the €220m Dublin Bay Project, which will see the installation of a new sewage outfall pipe, a Dublin City Council spokesman told the Herald.
"It's part of the site investigation for the extension of the sewage treatment plant," he said, adding that there was no oil in the bay. The main contractor for the project, Fugro Seacore, is carrying out the work.
The rig only arrived in the bay a few days ago and will be there for several weeks.
Waste water is currently discharged at Ringsend but the new pipe will see it pumped much further out to sea.
The rig, the Excalibur, was towed from Holyhead, in Wales. When completed, the project is expected to improve water quality in the bay.
The extension will increase capacity of the plant to serve a population of 2.1 million, while the outfall pipe will stretch 9km out to sea.
The council will build the five-metre diameter pipeline from Ringsend to comply with strict new water quality standards. When completed, by the end of 2015, it will be longer than the Dublin Port Tunnel.
Council officials have described the channel as the "greenest and most economic solution" of the options considered. The current discharge point causes pollution in the inner bay, around Bull Island, and other sensitive areas.