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EPS Plays Large Part in Bringing IRONMAN to Ireland

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As Youghal and East Cork gets ready to welcome over 2600 athletes, along with families, friends, supporters and spectators, for one of the world’s most prestigious sporting competitions, the International IRONMAN triathlon, EPS is proud to have played a large part in ensuring that this huge event goes off swimmingly.

Water standards are a vital component for IRONMAN, with the race getting underway in the clean waters of the golden, sandy Claycastle beach in Youghal Bay, early on Sunday morning with a 3.8km (2.4-mile) swim.

Over a 28 month period, Irish Water, working in partnership with Cork County Council & EPS/Sorensen, developed the €12.5m Youghal Wastewater Treatment Plant on Breton Road, which was officially opened in September 2019, to ensure that the high quality of water standards required by IRONMAN would be met.

By providing the capacity to effectively treat wastewater from homes and businesses in the area, the plant has resulted in significant improvements in water quality and will facilitate the ongoing growth and development of the town. The investment in the new modern and sustainable wastewater treatment plant is part of an overall investment in Youghal’s wastewater infrastructure of approximately €26m. 

EPS will operate and maintain the wastewater facility for a period of 20 years on behalf of Irish Water. Cork County Council also anticipate that this facility will strongly support the return of Blue Flags into the future for Claycastle and Youghal.

Cork County Council, as main event sponsor, has also invested significantly in getting Youghal race ready. Recognising the immediate economic benefits and the potential legacy for East Cork, the Council has invested in road improvements and overhauled the beach at Claycastle.  

The launch of IRONMAN in Claycastle Beach

IRONMAN competitors working for Cork County Council, Irish Water and EPS will take part in the event on June 23rd and in wishing them well, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, deputising for the County Mayor commented, “This is huge event for Youghal, delivering a significant economic impact to East Cork with the potential to drive the entire region as a premier activity-based visitor destination in the country. We will welcome competitors from all over the world and expect an estimated €8 million economic boost to the local economy. The success of this event reflects the impact of long-term infrastructural investment by Cork County Council and Irish Water.”

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EPS Takes Top Engineering Prize at Energia Family Business Awards

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EPS was named the Manufacturing and Engineering Family Business of the Year at the inaugural Energia Family Business Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House on Friday last (May 24th, 2019). The company, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, also took the Silver award in the Fastest Growing Family Business category.

The awards celebrate the efforts of family run businesses in shaping the Irish business landscape and recognise businesses across the island of all shapes and sizes, with over 200 entries received for its inaugural year, and over 18 well deserving winners crowned at the ceremony.

Managing Director Patrick Buckley said winning the top award was a recognition that the company’s recent investment decisions were reaping rewards. “Our strategy during the downturn to invest in our Centre for Design and Manufacturing Excellence has proven to be a worthwhile and essential decision to ensure the future sustainability of the business. It’s a constant challenge for companies in the manufacturing, engineering and construction space to remain competitive”.

“With constant downward pressure on margins and an increasing number of competitors in our market, in addition to the imminent challenges of Brexit, having modern technology and facilities helps to future proof the business, secure jobs for our employees and keeps us in a position to add value for our customers”, says Patrick. “The award is a great acknowledgement and recognition for the entire team and their efforts in this regard. We’re particularly thrilled to have those efforts recognised at a national level. It’s also especially great timing for us to win an award focusing on the family element of the business as we mark our 50th Anniversary and our successful transition between generation 1 and generation 2”.

EPS was the most nominated company on the day – shortlisted for 6 awards in total – and up against stiff competition in all categories. “It’s wonderful to hear EPS Group being mentioned alongside such well-known brands as Dawn Meats, Flahavans, Height for Hire and Ballymaloe House. It was a great opportunity to meet other family business owners, hear their stories and share in their successes”, says Patrick.

Alan Mulcahy, Head of Sales at Energia, said, “The range of business sectors represented in the award submissions shows our economy is diverse and fit for the future. At Energia, we partner with businesses across the island of Ireland and are committed to the communities they serve. The volume and quality of the entries received augurs well for the future of the Family Business Awards as does the deserved recognition of innovative Irish businesses. Congratulations to all who entered and well done to the winners.”

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EPS Leads Unique Hydropower Project in Ireland & UK

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The community of Rathnure, County Wexford is to reap the financial rewards of a unique energy generation project. The pilot scheme which began late last year, has been trialled at the EPS operated Blackstairs Group Water Scheme (BGWS) and it’s estimated, will generate 49000 kWh/year, saving over €6,400. This money will be donated to the local community by BGWS and EPS, proving that energy optimisation delivers tangible results to benefit all.

Energy optimisation is a hot topic right now and this was definitely something which was applied to this group water scheme. EPS collaborated with Trinity College Dublin & Bangor University in the Dwr Uisce project, a hydropower energy recovery scheme, where a pump was installed into the usual GWS treatment process.

EPS’ Energy Manager & lead on the project, Benny McDonagh explains. “This project is the first of its kind to be commissioned in Ireland and the UK. As part of our ongoing efforts to use our expertise and resources to reduce our electrical load and carbon footprint, we introduced a pump to act as a turbine (PAT), recovering energy that otherwise would have been wasted. We hope that this successful project is adopted and is rolled out across the country. We have already identified suitable sites and look forward to delivering similar results and further reduce carbon emissions”.

Blackstairs Hydropower Demonstration Site Launch

“We have been operating group water schemes where we treat and provide safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland since 1999, and specifically our GWS in Blackstairs since 2006”, says Barry O’Toole, Operations and Maintenance Director at EPS. “We are committed to the local communities where we live and work and it is wonderful to be able to give even more back to those who support us”.

Blackstairs Hydropower Demonstration Site Launch (PaT)

Pumps as Turbines (PaT) are an unconventional solution for hydropower generation adapted to fit in many scenarios where a conventional turbine unit would not be economically viable. The physical behaviour of PaTs is similar to Francis turbines, but without the possibility of flow regulation. Among the various applications of PaTs is that they have proven to be very effective if used for micro hydro off-grid plants and in-pipe energy recovery. The use of PaTs has shown several advantages over other turbine types, namely

  • mass manufacturing
  • compact dimensions
  • availability and short delivery time
  • easy installation, operation and maintenance
  • reduced investment cost
  • longer life span with respect to traditional turbines

​​​​​​​The project was officially launched at Rathnure Community Centre on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019.

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EPS Retains Gold Status at Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards

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EPS has been named a Deloitte Best Managed Company (BMC) for the 5th year in a row. The company, which is celebrating its 50th year in business, now employs over 500 people between Ireland, the UK and Jordan. EPS was found to have demonstrated superior business performance for the 5th year running, a feat that was recognised at a gala awards dinner in Dublin.

The company has placed an increased focus on recruitment in recent months, as well as encouraging secondary school students to study STEM subjects, so it was a powerful message that 9 women represented the company at the award ceremony.

“With International Women’s Day approaching, it was a timely reminder that careers in engineering and manufacturing businesses are not just for boys. We were proud to have women representing our marketing and communications department, operations, HR, industrial sales and our service department on the night", says EPS HR Manager Joanne Treacy.

Deloitte EPS Only

EPS has been part of the BMC programme for the past 5 years. After achieving the Gold Standard last year, the company had to undergo a requalification review process in order to ensure that it continues to uphold the Best Managed standard.

“As we continue to mark our 50th year in business, being acknowledged as a for the 5th consecutive year is a fantastic way to keep the positive momentum going”, says Managing Director Patrick Buckley.

Anya Cummins, Deloitte, agreed it was a huge achievement. “The Best Managed Companies process is a rigorous one, examining every facet of an organisation, and the bar is set high by our judging panel. As ever, the spread of companies, right around the country and across a number of industries, underlines the importance of Irish and Northern Irish companies to the economy and in the midst of economic uncertainty, technology disruption, an open competitive market and full employment, the continued strong performance of these businesses is admirable.  In the current environment, it is important for this contribution to be recognised, supported and showcased.”

The Best Managed Companies network this year has total revenues of almost €11 billion, export sales of almost €3 billion and total employment of approximately 44,000 people.

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EPS Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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EPS celebrated its milestone 50th Anniversary on Friday, December 14th, 2018.

Originally called Kanturk Electrical and Farm Services and starting out as a partnership between Gerald Buckley and John Joe Sheehan, the company, now known as EPS, has grown to a team of almost 500.

Over the past five decades, EPS has grown from a modest electrical and pumping services business into an innovative, internationally exporting product and service provider, now focused upon the water, wastewater and clean technology sectors.

Since 1968, the company has expanded its footprint both in Ireland and internationally. As well as 3 premises in Mallow, there are regional branches in Ballyhaunis; Mountrath & Naas, Newtownards; Alton; Thetford and Lichfield in the UK, as well as Amman, Jordan.

Managing Director Patrick Buckley says the entrepreneurial spirit shown by the original founders and partners who were in their early 20’s when the business began in 1968, remains with the company to this day. “As we prepared for the 50th Anniversary, it’s been fascinating to chart the company’s growth over the decades, identifying key decisions and strategies that propelled EPS to where it is today, from capitalising on the rural electrification scheme to developing branches outside Cork in the ‘70’s; a series of acquisitions in the ‘80’s; the roll out of the Government’s first National Development Plan in the ‘90’s; designing, building and operating wastewater treatment plants in the ‘00’s to investing in digital technologies most recently.

“Down through the decades, we’ve always believed in the power of collaboration, partnerships and our employees and those beliefs remain as relevant today, as the second generation looks ahead to the next half century”, says Patrick.

Hoisting the 50th Anniversary flag
Hoisting the 50th Anniversary flag - Friday, December 14th, 2018

While the extent of our reach may not be widely known, EPS products and services form part of everyday life in the 26 counties of Ireland. Through our local agent network, we sell pumps to the agricultural, commercial and domestic customers, while we are also assisting Irish Water in delivering and maintaining the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure, ensuring that Ireland has safe, clean, drinkable water and treating wastewater from towns, villages and factories before it reaches our rivers and streams.

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EPS Signs Contract for Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme

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West Cork is in line for a construction employment boost with the news that EPS has been awarded a significant contract to upgrade the water supply for the Skibbereen area. The works, which will be carried out in partnership with Irish Water, are valued at €28m and will improve drinking water quality and supply for over 7000 people in the local area.

The Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme (RWSS) is an amalgamation of the Drimoleague Water Supply Scheme (WSS), Schull WSS, Schull/Baltimore WSS and Skibbereen WSS. The works, which are due to commence in the coming weeks, will see the decommissioning of treatment plants at Schull (Skeagh WTP), Castledonovan (Drimoleague WTW) and Leap (Ballinlough WTP) which have been deemed inadequate by Irish Water and were recently included on their Remedial Action List (RAL).

Plants at Ballyhilty and Lake Cross will not only be retained, but upgraded and expanded to service the Skibbereen area, while new treated water storage reservoirs will be built in Drimoleague, Schull, Leap and Sherkin, with existing defective water mains and those with insufficient capacity will be replaced.

Managing Director Patrick Buckley has welcomed the announcement as a further example of the company’s commitment to the Cork region and specifically to West Cork. “EPS already has a significant footprint in West Cork, with wastewater treatment plants in Dunmanway, Bantry, Clonakilty and Kinsale as well as current works underway in Bandon and further north in Millstreet. This contract will also mean a significant employment boost for the region as we undertake an extensive search for civil & mechanical engineers, project managers, site managers and quantity surveyors.”

“It’s an opportune time for anyone considering relocating to West Cork from other parts of the country or moving back home from abroad”, says Patrick. “Irish Water is investing heavily in our national water infrastructure and EPS is at the forefront of this activity as we work in partnership with Irish Water upgrading the water and wastewater network and treatment plants around the country”.

The contract also makes provision for the 1 year operation of the works once construction is complete.

Anyone interested in applying for the positions can do so via epswater.ie/group/careers.

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EPS Plays Our Part in Construction Safety Week 2018

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EPS has been playing its part in the Construction Industry Federation’s Construction Safety Week which runs from Oct 22nd to Oct 26th.

Currently undertaking the €5m upgrade of the Millstreet Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), and in partnership with Irish Water, the well-known company used the site as their targeted focus for the week, the theme of which is “Better Safety for Smaller Contractors”.

Employing almost 500 people between their offices, branches, sites and plants across Ireland, the UK and Middle East - maintaining the health and safety of the company’s expanding workforce is EPS’ top priority.

Construction Safety Week, organised by the Construction Industry Federation, is urging all large contractors and sub-contractors to evaluate their work practices and to ensure they work in a safe collaborative manner on site. With a strong economic recovery in the construction sector in recent years, there’s a concern that the increased activity is resulting in increased fatalities and efforts are underway to stop that trend.

During 2017, there was a total of 5 fatalities within the construction sector compared to 9 fatalities in 2016. All 2017 fatalities involved small contractors or self-employed construction workers.

“As we approach our 50th year in business, EPS is extremely proud of our health and safety record, but complacency can never be allowed to set in”, says Contracts Director John Lynch. “Our team is constantly revising and updating our health and safety practices, training our employees and reviewing how we get the message across to those working directly for us and sub-contractors”.

And the message was clear in Millstreet this week, with H&S briefings over breakfast, where the team was healthily fuelled ahead of their busy days on site and brought up to speed on 5 different Health & Safety topics over the week, covering working safely at height; positive mental health; working safely near utilities, with hazardous substances and with vehicles.

“We have worked on a series of animations to truly engage with our teams in our offices, branches and of course on-site”, says John. “Evidence shows that video and animation engages the audience and is an extremely effective and memorable way of communicating”.

The Millstreet WWTP is of immense importance to the local community, as it will see the existing plant, which serves a population equivalent of 1600, increase to 3220. The work is estimated to continue for at least 12 months.

The importance of safety on site will be further emphasised to the company’s UK team during Construction Safety Week. All team members from their offices in Alton, Hampshire; Thetford, Norfolk and Lichfield, Staffordshire will be addressed by James Gorry, who lost the use of his legs in a workplace accident in 2005. James gives a no-holds barred account of the impact the accident had not only on him personally, but his family.

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Official Opening of Youghal WWTP

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The €12.5m Youghal Wastewater Treatment Plant which serves a population equivalent of 16,000 will be officially opened today, Friday, September 28th.

The project, on the Breton Road, was delivered as an EPS/Sorensen joint venture in partnership with Irish Water, Cork County Council and other stakeholders.

EPS/Sorensen designed and built the wastewater treatment plant on behalf of Irish Water & Cork County Council, ending the discharge of raw sewage into the Blackwater Estuary in the process.

The investment in a new wastewater treatment plant is part of an overall investment in wastewater infrastructure of approximately €22.8m. This is a significant investment and commitment by Irish Water and EPS/Sorensen are looking forward to working with all stakeholders, including the community in Youghal.

John Lynch, EPS Contracts Director says, “The EPS/Sorensen Joint Venture used modern design and construction technologies to ensure that both Irish Water and the community of Youghal have a treatment plant to be proud of”.

Following the successful delivery of the construction phase, EPS will further operate and maintain the wastewater facility for a period of 20 years on behalf of Irish Water. EPS has an existing asset management base within the Cork/Waterford region where a cluster of wastewater treatment plants are under its care and maintenance on behalf of Irish Water.

The treatment plant at Youghal, which involves utilising well proven and modern technology, will become part of this cluster where a team of locally based EPS team members will play an active role on behalf of this community in delivering and maintaining yet another sustainable project by EPS. 

The opening is particularly timely in light of the upcoming Ironman Triathlon competition in Youghal in June 2019, which will bring valued international tourism to the region.

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Nereda Scoops Carbon Reduction Award

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EPS is celebrating the success of our Nereda® project at Anglian Water’s Great Dunmow Water Recycling Centre at this year’s New Civil Engineer TechFest Awards held in London recently. Entered by technology owner Royal HaskoningDHV, the project was the winner in Best Use of Technology: Carbon Reduction Award category.

Great Dunmow WRC is the second Nereda® granular activated sludge plant to be completed in the UK, and the first UK plant to be constructed under license to a contractor – EPS in this instance. It entailed the replacement of an obsolete MBBR works with a new 10,000 population equivalent Nereda® plant inclusive of new inlet works, storm tanks, tertiary solids removal and sludge thickening systems.

The project was delivered by Anglian Water’s delivery partner, @One Alliance, supported by EPS, RHDHV and a selection of supply chain partners. From the outset of scheme development, carbon reduction was set out as a key efficiency enabler and was an important factor in the selection of Nereda® as the process technology, as well as in site layout, delivery strategy, materials specification and equipment selection. The upshot of this was the adoption of above-ground construction, mostly in steel, and the use of off-site modular construction techniques.

Great Dunmow WRC took live flows in May 2018 and is currently completing its process proving period with Anglian Water now operating the plant on a day-to-day basis. Nereda® is providing on-going operational carbon savings through energy efficiency and zero chemicals.

“We are so proud that Great Dunmow has been recognised in this way,” says Shaun Stevens, EPS Business Development Manager. “The award is the culmination of a massive effort by dedicated teams in Anglian Water, EPS, Royal HaskoningDHV and the supply chain to deliver Nereda® in a different way to what has been seen before. The project has successfully applied a relatively new technology to meet relevant compliance and programme targets whilst outperforming against Anglian Water’s carbon reduction commitments.”

“We wish to thank our partners in the project, as well as New Civil Engineer and the judges,” he continues. We also wish to acknowledge our fellow nominees for this award and the quality of their pitches.”

EPS’s journey with Nereda® began with the securing of an RHDHV licence five years ago, since when we have constructed and now operate three plants in Ireland on behalf of Irish Water. It continues with involvement in schemes currently under construction at Inverurie and Dungannon, and with a number of other projects already going through digital design in our Design & Manufacturing Centre of Excellence.

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Achilles Clean Sweep for EPS

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Our on-going commitment to excellence has once again been recognised by the Achilles organisation, who have again awarded UVDB Verify accreditation under their B2 Category. Once again, EPS have achieved a straight set of 100% scores under the headings of Health & Safety, Environment, Quality and Corporate Social Responsibility, with assessments carried out on both our management systems and our site operations.

The results are reflective of the ever-improving standard of service being delivered to clients by EPS staff and management across our five operating divisions – these being Design & Build Contracting, Asset Management & Energy, Service & Repair, Product Sales and Off-Site Manufacturing.

“We recognise the importance of Achilles UVDB accreditation in maintaining and improving our service provision and also as an important tool for pre-qualifying EPS for many of our key projects and workstreams,” says Shaun Stevens, Business Development Manager. “To achieve a maximum score once again is testament to the efforts of our workforce in ensuring that we maintain industry-leading standards, and underpins our commitment to broadening our future range of accreditations.”

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