Irish Sewage Plants Behind EU Standards

By David Little

According to a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of Ireland’s wastewater is not being treated to EU standards.

Source- Environmental Protection Agency.

The report states that EU countries have an average sewage treatment compliance rate of 90%.

Areas in Dublin such as Malahide and Ringsend have not reached all treatment standards set by the EU’s ‘Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive’ in 2021. The Ringsend plant has previously pumped untreated sewage into Dublin Bay during heavy rainfall, when the sewage treatment plant is overloaded.

Meanwhile the report stated Howth pumps raw sewage directly into rivers, due to the area’s public sewer system not being connected to treatment plants.

Number of incidents leading to environmental damage across Ireland. Source: EPA Urban Wastewater Report

The EPA has stated in the report that a “multibillion-euro investment” by Irish Water is necessary to bring the plants up to EU standards, which have not been met since 2005. 

Speaking on the matter, Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan challenged Irish Water work quickly to meet EU standards. “While Irish Water have said they are playing catch-up  since their setting up in 2014, I don’t believe it is acceptable that we are missing targets from 2005.

“Work on adamant treatment of our urban wastewater must be fast tracked as soon as possible”.

Irish Water has previously rejected calls to treat sewage with UV light all year round, citing the lack of “any material improvement” when applied. See the tweet here.

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