Ireland given 2 weeks to prove wastewater compliance

Ireland has been given two weeks to prove there are plans are in place to remedy breaches of the wastewater, drinking water and dangerous substance directives.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found Ireland guilty of failing to provide secondary treatment of sewage at six sites around the country and must now demonstrate remedial plans are in place in order to avoid fines which could run into the millions of euros a year.

So far, Ireland has been ordered to pay the costs of the case, in which it was found to be in breach of the 1991 Urban Wastewater Directive.

Environment minister John Gormley said he was “disappointed” that “mainly technical or legal difficulties” had let the case get so far, though he added that steps were already being taken to correct the situation.

The government’s defence that there had been delays over technical and legal requirements and land acquisition was rejected by the ECJ.

It said: “Member states cannot plead internal circumstances or practical difficulties to justify non-compliance with obligations arising from rules of community law.”

Following the judgement, a government spokeswoman said: “The previous difficulties have all now been resolved and work to meet the requirements is under way.”

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