Ireland in breach of EU wastewater directive

Ireland is in breach of an EU directive on the provision of wastewater treatment in urban environments, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has found.

The ruling could see Ireland face heavy fines for breaching the 1991 Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, though the government has been given time to rectify the situation.

Ireland was found guilty of failing to ensure that wastewater from six different urban areas is subjected to secondary treatment before entering collecting systems.

The European Commission, which brought the case before the court, successfully argued that Ireland had failed to provide secondary wastewater treatment plants in towns with more than 15,000 people.

The six areas involved in the case were Bray, Shanganah, Howth, Tramore, Letterkenny, and Sligo.

Ireland’s defence was centred around the rapid advancement of plans to provide the required infrastructure.

Last year, Ireland was before the court accused of failing to comply with parts of the Groundwater Directive.

It was charged with failing to take measures necessary in relation to pollution caused by dangerous substances from the Ballymurtagh landfill and septic tanks generally.

On that occasion the ECJ found against the government on the landfill issue but dismissed the rest of the action.

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