European Commission to take case over waste water treatment failures in 38 locations, including Dundalk

European Commission to take case over waste water treatment failures in 38 locations, including Dundalk

The European Commission is set to take a case against Ireland in the European Court of Justice over waste water treatment failures in 38 locations around the country, including Dundalk.

The commission said that the failures are putting human health and the environment at risk and some should have been addressed as far back as the year 2000.

Ireland needs to invest €433 million in urban waste water treatment to reach full compliance with the EU waste water treatment directive. The directive is aimed at protecting human health and the environment.

However, according to the European Commission successive Irish governments have known that the country was in breach of the directive in many locations around the country but not enough was done to address the issue.

EU member states had until the year 2000 to address the waste water treatment failures in larger urban areas, and until the year 2005 to address the problems affecting smaller areas.

In response to Ireland’s failure to take action, the commission first initiated an infringement against Ireland in 2013 and followed up with a formal warning in 2015.

Now it appears the commission’s patience has run out and the EU is taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice over waste water treatment failures in 38 towns.

The locations are dotted all over the country including Arklow, Athlone, Cavan, Clifden, Dundalk, Navan, Tralee, Cork City and Waterford.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been flagging the problems in all of these locations in all its waste water reports in recent years.

Irish Water has plans to address all of the problems by 2021 in its business plans, provided it gets the required funding. It is estimated it will cost €1.25bn to resolve.

The utility said: “Since taking over responsibility for water services in 2014, Irish Water has put in place a prioritised range of projects to deal with historic deficits and lack of investment in waste water treatment across the country.

“The utility has identified key projects in our current and recently approved future capital investment plans to address all non-compliances in our treatment plants by 2021 in each of the areas identified by the EU as part of this ECJ case.

“We are also carrying out detailed studies into a number of issues raised by the EU in relation to our waste water collection systems (network overflows) and full compliance for our networks will take longer, extending into the next investment programme.”

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