Uisce Éireann must accelerate efforts to end discharges of raw sewage into Ireland’s rivers and coastal waters, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.
Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s biodiversity spokesperson, said:
“In its ‘Urban Waste Water Treatment 2022’ report, published today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights the scale of the challenge facing Uisce Éireann in eliminating raw sewage discharges into our waterways. It is going to take a multi-billion euro investment, and at least two more decades, to bring all waste water treatment systems up to the standard needed to protect our environment and provide for future needs.
“The EPA reveals that over half of Ireland’s waste water discharges are not meeting EU standards, which has serious implications for public health and nature protection. As many as 26 towns and villages around the country were discharging raw sewage daily in mid-2023, according to the report.
“There are areas identified in the report where Uisce Éireann clearly need to up their game. For instance, it is extremely disappointing that poor management practices at a number of upgraded plants have caused inadequately treated sewage to be discharged into the sea. This is completely unacceptable given that such incidents were preventable.
“It is now 30 years since Ireland was required to bring provisions into force to comply with EU treatment standards to protect the environment. With just 45 per cent of waste water treated to these standards, at the current rate of progress Ireland stands to be in breach of EU regulations for 50 years.
“Uisce Éireann must now take steps to accelerate its improvement programme and focus its resources on preventing pollution in the priority areas highlighted by the EPA.”
October 26, 2023