Skip to content

Project maximising renewable energy use wins Northern Ireland sustainability award

21 December 2022

The results were announced at the region’s annual dinner, where attendees also raised more than £6,800 for charity.

Project maximising renewable energy use wins Northern Ireland sustainability award
The award was presented by ICE President Keith Howells and ICE Northern Ireland (NI) regional chair, Stephen Orr.

ICE President Keith Howells has presented the 2022 ICE Northern Ireland Sustainability Award to the Ballykelly Wastewater Treatment Works Upgrade at the region’s annual dinner.

The award, also presented by ICE NI regional chair, Stephen Orr, was collected by project partners NI Water, BSG and RPS, represented by Mark Brownlee, Cillian Ward and Ryan Murray, respectively.

Other awards presented at the ICE NI annual dinner included the Adrian Long Medal, which recognises the best paper published in a technical journal. This year the medal went to Dr Paul Sargent.

The Ferguson Medal, awarded to authors of the best paper delivered by an ICE member, was given to Andre Henry.

Over 500 ICE members and guests attended the annual dinner at the Europa Hotel, alongside guest speaker Lady Mary Peters, and of course, Howells, who was visiting the region.

The Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award showcases some of the current civil engineering projects in the region that are demonstrating excellence in sustainability based upon the following criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Community benefit
  • Environmental benefit
  • Economy of materials and labour and the whole life cost of the scheme
  • Value engineering
  • Health and safety

ICE NI members had put forward current projects spanning multiple sectors of civil engineering which represent commitment to environmental sustainability. This was the shortlist:

The 2022 ICE NI Sustainability Award shortlist

Ballykelly Wastewater Treatment Works Upgrade

Ballykelly wastewater treatment works upgrade
Aerial view of the wastewater treatment works.

NI Water’s (NIW) award-winning Ballykelly Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) cleverly combines state-of-the art mechanical wastewater treatment processes with the zero-energy concepts of an Integrated Constructed Wetland (ICW) to deliver a high-quality discharge.

Designed by NIW, in collaboration with RPS and BSG, the sustainable solution includes battery storage to maximise the use of onsite renewable energy throughout the year.

The first of its kind, the project drives continuous improvement in wastewater treatment solutions.

At 2021 prices, the energy stored onsite will save NIW £400,00 over 25 years.

In addition, the use of renewable energy will prevent the emission of over 41,000kg of CO2 per year – helping NIW to achieve its carbon-neutral goal by 2050.

The marrying of traditional and natural wastewater treatment processes provides a robust long-term solution for Ballykelly village.

It also supports local development and offers an area rich in biodiversity the chance to enhance the local land and water environments.

A6 Randalstown Castledawson Dualing

A6RC Ballynafey overbridge
A6RC Ballynafey overbridge.

The £189m A6 Randalstown Castledawson Dualling is an Executive Flagship road infrastructure project completed by Department for Infrastructure in May 2021.

It consists of 15km (9mi) of a new, high standard, dual carriageway from the end of the existing M22 near Randalstown, to the existing Castledawson roundabout.

The A6 is the trunk road key transport corridor from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry.

Pre-scheme, this section consisted of a single carriageway with many accesses and junctions. It had a poor safety record, was near several schools and built-up areas, and was very congested at peak times.

The contract was an early contractor involvement design-and-build target cost. The successful contractor, a GRAHAM FARRANS Joint Venture, was appointed in 2015.

After a target was agreed, the contract moved to the construction phase.

NI Sewers Rehabilitation Programme

sewer rehab programme
A drone inside a sewer.

With billions of buried infrastructure assets around the globe, it’s a big challenge to extend the life expectancy of existing assets, rather than constructing new ones, and doing so in a sustainable way.

For instance, by using rehabilitation that feature trenchless construction methods, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 90% compared to traditional open-cut methods.

In Northern Ireland, less than 0.1% of public sewers are being renovated each year by the NI Water Sewers Rehabilitation Programme (60kmsince 2014). This is a proactive preventative asset maintenance programme using a risk-based approach to target works.

If that rate of renovation continues, it could take almost 1000 years before the sewerage asset base today could be expected to be replaced. There’s no product with a design life of 1000 years!

Rehabilitation is a potential solution. A reduction in carbon emissions is possible due to the non-disruptive nature of the technology that allows projects to be completed in shorter durations and in a more cost-efficient manner.

Oxford Island Play Park

Oxford Island play park
Aerial view of the play park.

A world exclusive, this isn’t just a play park.

In fact, it sets the bar for future play parks, and is being used as a shining example for companies across the globe.

The conservation-inspired facility is completely bespoke to Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, and as such, is one-of-a-kind.

Designed and created by Proludic in collaboration with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the park overlooks Lough Neagh while blending into the forest surroundings.

Oxford Island Play Park, delivered in accordance with the council’s Play Strategy by Farrans and Garden Escapes, has been several years in the making. Construction was completed between September 2021 and January 2022.

Queen’s Bridge Lagan Siphons – Trenchless Relining & Adapted Drones

jetting encrustation from ground level
Aerial view of the project.

The Lagan Siphons are responsible for transporting sewage from a population of over 40,000 in East Belfast, 11m under the river Lagan, to the treatment works.

Constructed in 1910, the twin siphons consist of 1143mm diameter cast iron pipes, each running 146m between chambers on either side of the river.

Northern Ireland Water were keen to promote a sustainable alternative to traditional civils replacement of the siphons.

Dawson WAM and Environmental Techniques were tasked with rehabilitating the siphons to improve structural integrity and serviceability.

Stage one consisted of the refurbishment and replacement of the existing chambers. Stage two saw the trenchless installation of cured in-place pipe (CIPP) liners to stabilise the host pipes and eliminate infiltration.

Trenchless lining significantly reduced the amount of civils works required, and innovative technologies including drones and LiDAR scanning were employed to avoid man-entry into the siphons.

The installation of CIPP liners increased the lifespan by over 60 years.

2021/2022 Structures Maintenance Contract

retaining wall with train in background
Retaining wall using repurposed railway sleepers as infill panels.

The 2021/22 Structure Maintenance Contract (SMC) is a project consisting of hundreds of service orders that require the delivery of all maintenance, examinations, and emergency repairs to structures across Northern Ireland’s rail network.

This includes 468 bridges, 460 culverts, 434 retaining structures, 129 miles of earthworks, 76 sea defences, 139 platforms and 16 tunnels.

It’s challenging to reduce carbon footprint when constructing a new structure, even when carbon-saving initiatives can be implemented at the design stage.

It’s even more challenging when considering existing structures, some of which are over 150 years old.

The SMC has extended the lives of these structures and removed the carbon footprint associated with replacing them.

The SMC has strived for sustainability excellence through a strong focus on carbon reduction, biodiversity, social value and health and safety.

It’s done so by implementing measures such as innovative materials, reuse of materials, reduction of emissions and modern methods of construction.

Annual dinner guests donate over £6,800 to charity

Cancer Focus NI
Cancer Focus NI chief executive Richard Spratt speaking at the ICE NI annual dinner. Image credit: Michael Cooper Photography

The ICE NI annual dinner attendees raised £6,893.61 to donate to Cancer Focus NI, the charity nominated by the region’s chair.

Cancer Focus NI is a charity that provides care and support for cancer patients and their families.

It offers a range of cancer prevention programmes to help lessen the risk of getting cancer, funds scientific research into the causes and treatment of the disease, and campaigns for better health policy to protect the community and its future.

Maeve Colgan, the charity’s director of fundraising and communications said: “We are absolutely delighted at the total raised on the night and it will go a long way to help support our Men’s Health Work.”

Find out more about Cancer Focus NI

Learn more about the ICE NI Awards and the Emerging Engineers Awards.

  • Neeta Cubitt, communications lead at ICE Northern Ireland