Half of Irish wastewater plants fail to meet standards

A report, released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has shown that 46% of wastewater treatment plants in Ireland have failed to meet wastewater quality standards or EPA guidelines, with "serious" environmental impacts on local waterways.

The report also found 11 large urban areas did not meet the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). In some of these cases the provision of treatment is now ten years overdue, while in others, failure to meet standards is “impacting bathing water” and “causing serious pollution” to local rivers.

EPA office of environmental enforcement programme manager Gerard O’Leary said, “this level of performance is poor and needs to improve”. He added that investment in infrastructure was needed as well as “a step change in the operation and maintenance” of the plants in question.

The report reviewed performance at wastewater plants in 529 urban areas. Of these, 38 were found to have failed to take sufficient samples, down from 112 when the last report was produced in 2007.

The EPA has said it expects the relevant local authorities to complete necessary work to meet standards by 2015.

Will Parsons

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