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Greens School Committee

Green Schools Committee visit Ringsend Water Treatment Facility

On the Thursday the 22nd of March the Gonzaga Green Schools Committee embarked on a trip to the Ringsend Water Treatment Facility. There was a total on eight committee members on the trip ranging from 1st to 4th year. We were also accompanied by Ms. S. McNamara (The College Librarian) and Ms. B. Rooney (The College Administrator).

At 10:15 we let class and departed from the school to Ringsend.  When we arrived we were given a very detailed presentation by Mr. Paddy Higgins about the history of water treatment and the history of the facility. He also explained about how water treatment works in Ringsend and then gave us a tour of the facility.

 Firstly sludge has the large objects removed such as grit and other large objects. Grease, fats and oils are also removed at this point. The solids are then separated from the liquid at this point. The solids or sludge are converted into a fertilizer by use of heat and gas. There is also a byproduct gas from this process which accounts for 40% of the facilities energy.

The water is then stored in a variety of different tanks to allow remaining smaller solids to gather at the bottom of the tanks. There is also oxygen added at a later stage to further clean it. Whilst in these tanks there are micro-organisms which eat through the bacteria in the tanks and produce the byproduct of nitrogen. When the water leaves this secondary treatment area it is clean enough to return to the sea although it is checked before it is pumped into the sea. During the bathing season of May to August there is a third form of treatment. This is exposing the water to ultraviolent light to disinfect it. The water is then sufficient to return into the sea. If the water was to be clean enough to drink it would need to go through a fourth stage of treatment as happens in London.

At the end of the process there completely clean water pumped into the sea and a byproduct of a fertilizer. There are no harmful byproducts from the sewage. The facility is very environmentally friendly and the Dublin Bay Project is one which allows for water to be treated to the maximum possible level.

In conclusion the trip was very enjoyable and insightful. At this point I would like to thank Ms. Rooney and Ms. McNamara for bringing us on the trip and Barry Mulvey for organizing it.

Mark Finn, S3A

IKEA trip- Green schools committee

On Thursday the 29th of March, the members of the Green schools committee once again set forth upon a school tour. The eleven of us ventured, this time, to the vast IKEA centre. We departed at 10:15 and travelled there by coach.

When we arrived we were met by the IKEA sustainability manager for the environmentally friendly measures taken by the Dublin branch of the company. He delivered a very explanatory presentation on the steps taken by IKEA to ensure fair trade, well-treated labourers and eco-friendliness within the organisation; this also covered details on the IKEA policies towards human rights promotion and recycling. Following this we were taken down to the workshop area of the store, where we were shown how IKEA fixed damaged products for reuse instead of disposing of them.

Once our guide had finished giving his talk about his work in the company, we were treated to a meal in their restaurant. During this time to ourselves we were able to see the measures IKEA had taken to become more efficient and environmentally friendly, first hand. We were also each offered some complimentary pencils as we left. Having finished our lunch we found our way out of the shop and back to our bus.

In short, the trip successfully demonstrated to us the requirements of a company such as IKEA in order to improve our planets pollution levels. We were also impressed by their work in human rights. The tour was very helpful and I would like to thank both IKEA and those within the school who organised it.

Laurence Childs 3B

The Green Schools Committee

Green Schools is an international project. It aims towards a more sustainable future. In Ireland it is run by An Taisce. It awards Green Flags to schools for their environmental awareness.
More information can be found at;

The Gonzaga Green Committee originally started as a Third year CSPE action project led by Mr. O’Connor. When people noticed that this could greatly effect the school’s carbon emissions and energy waste and so on, they started a committee consisting of staff, students, The Headmaster and maintenance staff.

The first Chairperson and Secretary were Hugh O’Flanagan and Ben McRedmond, both in S3A in the year 2007.

Since then the Committee has been awarded 3 Green Flags. The first we received was Litter and Waste, followed by Energy and most recently Water.

We are now starting work once again towards the next Green Flag: Transport.

Recently the Chairperson and Secretary, Will Dunleavy and Barry Mulvey, stepped down. Pádraig Sheehy S2D and I have taken on the roles.

This year was an extremely productive one. Students and staff both worked very hard to achieve the Green Flag. I hope that we can achieve the same goals and be just as productive.

If any students would like to get involved, please contact me at

Neil O’Flanagan S2C

Green Schools Committee Secretary.


The Green Schools Committee is currently working to get its 4th Green flag, this time for Transport. As part of this process the committee, made up of students from each year in the school along with staff members and the Headmaster, gave a presentation and held a quiz for both 1st years and 2nd years.

Latest news

More photos of recent meeting may be viewed here.

Green School Committee, Travel Survey Results published. To see results, click here.